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“Walk into traditional Japan”
Review of Kumano Kodo

Kumano Kodo
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$988.23*
and up
3-Day or 4-Day Self-Guided Hike on Kumano Kodo...
Reviewed November 5, 2013

We walked for 4.5 days from Takijiri to Nachi-san. A tough but very enjoyable walk. The countryside is pristine, walking through beautiful woodlands. We booked our trip through Oku Japan, but believe that Tanabe City is also very helpful if you contact them. The accommodation is very traditional - expect to stay in tatami mat rooms, make your own futon bed, bathe in onsens and eat (delicious) traditional food (including breakfasts!). Also expect some of the friendliest hospitality we have encountered, anywhere... If you like hiking, highly recommend this experience, but do train beforehand! You'll be glad you did.

6  Thank bronnie43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"hot springs"
in 6 reviews
"walking poles"
in 4 reviews
"short walk"
in 3 reviews
"ups and downs"
in 3 reviews
"the bus"
in 4 reviews
"world heritage"
in 2 reviews
"big cities"
in 2 reviews
"two days"
in 2 reviews
"temple complex"
in 2 reviews
"mountain range"
in 2 reviews
"moderate fitness"
in 2 reviews
"torrential rain"
in 2 reviews
"jr train"
in 2 reviews
"a great experience"
in 2 reviews
"trail"
in 23 reviews
"route"
in 13 reviews
"nachi"
in 11 reviews
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Reviewed April 20, 2013

Over 6 days (with a rest day at Yunomoine Onsen) we walked the Kohechi route of the Kumano Kodo trail from Koyasan to Nachisan. It seems that many people are scared off this trail because it is tough - walking for 7 to 8 hours each day over high passes with steep ups and downs. But would we do it again? You bet! For people with good fitness and wlaking experience this is very do-able. We are a 66 year old couple and we came out smiling. We loved the small villages and minshuku that we could stay in along the way. We had great spring weather - just a bit of snow on the north side of some passes, but this just added to the great experience.

21  Thank tav_mind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Kumano area contains several important shrines and temples for pilgrimage, and the practice is more than 1000 years old. Pilgrimage depends on the societal fabric that provides reasonable safety and facilities for travelling pilgrims, and the history proves the presence of such fabric in Japan from ancient times. Of course, there were times of social upheaval, and pilgrimage declined at such times. Nonetheless, pilgrimage has been the primary motive for travel to Japanese populace. Popularity of such travel is corroborated by the number of markets and townships that have developed along the access roads for pilgrims to notable shrines and temples.
Kumano area is the oldest center of such pilgrimage, and pilgrims to the three shrines, namely Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha, and Hayatama Taisha, were so numerous that they formed a continuous line like ants at their heydays. However, the area’s popularity declined during the Edo period, when Ise shrine became the most popular destination for pilgrimage. As a result, their ancient pilgrimage routes has suffered a long period of decline and neglect. Recent restoration efforts and revival of its popularity owe to their designation as an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, named “the sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii mountain range.”
Kumano Kodo refers to the network of those ancient pilgrimage routes, which feature arduous mountain passes and steep steps that lead to these shrines. Ancient pilgrims had to walk all the way, except for a very few who could afford aristocratic privileges and wherewithal. Either way, the pilgrimage is said to have taken a fortnight from Kyoto. Nowadays, it is possible to access all these shrines by car, perhaps except for the last mile. Not surprisingly, the motives of visitors have also changed significantly, and contemporary visitors are more interested in tourism than in pilgrimage. That being said, walking the last mile is popular even among these contemporary visitors, as it helps them to appreciate the importance of these shrines for ancient pilgrims and the determination and sacrifice of comfort that the pilgrimage entailed.
Tracing the ancient pilgrimage routes on foot may not be the first choice for touring visitors to Japan. However, anyone who attempts even to walk some distance of these routes will be rewarded with the beautiful scenery of mountains and valleys, and the discovery of charming hamlets some of which were once sizable communities with thriving business to cater for pilgrims. The Kumano area is also endowed with numerous hot springs, and they have always provided convenient places for rest and recuperation, whether the visitor comes for pilgrimage or tourism.
The shrines are accessible by public transportation, if visitors are prepared to walk the last mile, and do not expect the comparable frequency of service like Tokyo Metro.

8  Thank kobekko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2011

We did Kohechi and a part of Nakahechi way walking for seven days and we recomend everybody to do the same.

It was a really good experience, specially because of the kind hospitality of all japanise people that we found there.

Landscape was wonderful,too and we wer lucky about the weather. Almost no rain .

We did a blog: http://kumanokodo2010.blogspot.com (sorry, only spanish)

I recomend Tanabe Tourist Office as they could help a lot for the trip providing accomodation at a affordable cost.

7  Thank VigoAna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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