Kumano Ancient Trail (21-30May2024)

The Kumano Kodo, or Kumano Ancient Trail, is a pilgrimage route to Kumano, part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula which stretches south from the Kansai cities of Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. The well-maintained trail threads its way through deep valleys, mountains, and small villages to offer a wonderfully varied hike over four days. Stay at comfortable family-run inns with excellent food, soak in natural hot springs, and visit the shrines along the way.

The pilgrimage routes to the three great Kumano Shrines – Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Hayatama Taisha – were popularised during and after the Heian Period (794-1185), when the Imperial family and nobility began to seek salvation in sangaku shinko (a belief in the supernatural power of mountains), rather than through common religious practices. Emperor Gotoba (1180-1239) made no fewer than thirty pilgrimages to Kumano, recording his thoughts and feelings in the Kumano poems. Our journey begins in the modern city of Kyoto, and we travel south by train along the coast, and spend four days hiking the Nakahechi, one of the Kumano Kodo trails, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is a day mid-way to relax, with a gentle ride along the Kumano River to the Hayatama Taisha Shrine. We cross the Kii Peninsula on foot to its eastern coast, and the fishing town of Katsuura, with two nights at a hot-spring hotel and a further optional day of hiking. We finish by travelling on to Kyoto by train.

On our small-group guided tours, your guide takes care of luggage arrangements for you.


Details: Kumano Ancient Trail



EVENT DATES: 21-30May2024 


  • 4-6Pax: SGD6150/Pax
  • 8-10Pax: SGD5825/Pax
  • 12Pax Above: SGD4800/Pax

*per person based on double/twin occupancy.

* SGTREK MEMBERS: $50/Pax discount

(*Book in group of 4Pax and get $100/Pax discount, offer valid till 25Nov2023)

*SGD1080/Pax Single Supplement applicable

(Guarantees a single room in the hotels in Kyoto. At the inns, single guests will be asked to share with another person of the same gender in the group).


  • 1st Deposit $1000/Pax for booking
  • 2nd Deposit $1000/Pax by 31Oct2023
  • 3rd Deposit $1000/Pax by 30Nov2023
  • Final Payment by 31Dec2023 


Make the payment to the below account:


or You can transfer to the below account no.

Account Name: SGTREK PTE. LTD.

Bank Name: DBS BANK

Account Type: Digital Account

Account No: 027-907841-3

Trip level:  Intermediate Level  sgtrek.com/hike-grading/

Become a SGTREK Member and enjoy the benefits. Read here for Membership benefits: https://sgtrek.com/sgtrek-membership/

Type and trip level

This tour features village to village hiking in the sacred Kii Peninsula for 9 days. The hikes can be strenuous, 4 or 5 days of walking from 2 to 7 hours per day on mountain trails.


  • From imperial Kyoto, head through the Kumano mountains to the Pacific Ocean fishing port of Kii-Katsuura
  • Village to village walking on enchanting sections of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail.
  • Bathe in an outdoor hot-spring bath beside the Pacific Ocean
  • Ride a traditional boat on the Kumano River
  • See the Three Grand Shrines at Hongu, Shingu and Nachi
  • Enjoy an exclusive Shamisen musical performance in a lovely traditional setting on the Kumano Kodo trail. 

Trip Overview

Day Activity Overnight Meals
1Arrive Kyoto; Welcome DinnerKyotoD
2Sightseeing of KyotoKyotoB
3By train and bus from Kyoto to the Kii PeninsulaTakijiriB, D
4Walk from Takahara to ChikatsuyuChikatsuyuB, D
5Walk from Chikatsuyu to the Grand Shrine at HonguYunomine OnsenB, D
6Boat ride on the Kumano RiverYunomine OnsenB, D
7Walk from Koguchi to Nachi Grand Shrine and waterfallKii-KatsuuraB, D
8Coastal trail walk or relax at hot springKii-KatsuuraB, D
9By train to Kyoto; Farewell DinnerKyotoB, D
10Tour ends after breakfast at your hotelB


Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Kyoto, Welcome Dinner

A group transfer has been pre-arranged to take you to your Kyoto hotel. This evening, meet your expert local guide in the lobby of your hotel. Together, you’ll walk to a local restaurant for your Welcome Dinner, where she will prepare you for the tour ahead, and where you’ll have an opportunity to get to know each other.

Meals: Welcome Dinner

Accommodations: Kyoto (Hotel)

Day 2 Sightseeing of Kyoto

Today we will visit Fushimi Inari shrine in southeastern Kyoto. Fushimi Inari is known for its rows of vermilion torii gates that snake their way up the mountain from the street level shrine to the upper sanctuary. After ascending the shrine, we’ll walk along to descend to nearby Tofukuji Temple, a Buddhist temple that is a UNESCO World Heritage temple and shows you another side of the spiritual traditions of Japan.

In the afternoon we will go for a walk through the Gion district, famous for its many teahouses and schools that serve a lively community of geisha, known as geiko in Kyoto, and maiko, or apprentice Geisha. If we are lucky, perhaps we will spot a colourfully attired maiko on her way to a class or evening appointment.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations: Kyoto (Hotel) 

Day 3 – From Kyoto to the Kii Peninsula

We travel south from Kyoto along the coast by train to Kii-Tanabe, then transfer by local bus to Takijiri. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Kumano Kodo became popular in the 11th century as a place of pilgrimage from Kyoto by Emperors. The Kii Peninsula, which extends south from Nara and Osaka, has long been considered sacred in Japan as the entrance to the land of Yomi, the mythical afterworld. It is also the site of the three sacred shrines of Kumano, the Kumano Sanzan. We continue with a 2-hour hike to the small mountain-top village of Takahara, where we stop for the night.

Walking distance: 4.5km / 2.8 miles Elevation gain: 370m / 1,200 feet of ascent and 175m / 575 feet of descent Time required: About 2 hours.

Our bags will be transferred from Kyoto to Yunomine Onsen

Meals: Dinner and Breakfast

Accommodations: Takahara.

Day 4 Walk from Takahara to Chikatsuyu

Starting from Takahara, we continue eastwards along the Nakahechi pilgrimage trail. Along the path you pass small Jizo Bodhisattva statues, placed there by locals to protect travellers. There are also the sites of old Cha-ya (tea houses), which provided rest to pilgrims right up until the early 20th century. We descend to the village of Chikatsuyu, and our accommodation for tonight.

After dinner, a local Shamisen music group will treat us to a private performance in the lovely setting of our Chikatsuyu Branch. Enjoy this rare opportunity for a close-up experience of Japanese musical tradition.

Walking distance: 11.3km / 7 miles Elevation gain: 350m / 1,150 feet of ascent and 360m / 1,180 feet of descent Time required: About 4 hours.

Meals: Dinner and Breakfast

Accommodations: Chikatsuyu (Minshuku) 

Day 5 Walk from Chikatsuyu to the Grand Shrine at Hongu

Today we will hike two scenic sections of the Kumano Kodo trail, passing ridge-top villages and Oji shrines. Nobles would rest at these sub-shrines to refresh themselves and compose poems. From Chikatsuyu we walk first to Kobiro, then take a local bus to Hoshinmon-oji. From Hoshinmon-oji we descend to Hongu Grand Shrine. The symbol of the shrine is the mythological three-legged raven, representing the Hongu, Nachi, and Hayatama shrines – the same motif as the one used by the Japan Football Association. The three-legged crow was in mythology sent to guide Emperor Jimmu, on his journey from Kumano to the Yamato Plain.

After visiting the shrine, we transfer by local bus to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest hot springs in Japan famous for the thermal water bubbling to the surface of the crystal-clear river. We stay overnight in a comfortable Ryokan with its own hot spring bath or ‘Rotemburo’.

Walking distance: 12.8km / 8 miles Elevation gain: 321m / 1,055 feet of ascent and 360m / 1,180 feet of descent Time required: About 4 hours.

We will be reunited with our bags today.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodations: Yunomine Onsen (Hot springs Ryokan)

Day 6 Boat Ride on the Kumano River

We transfer by local bus to the Kumano River where board a traditional flat-bottomed boat and begin our trip along the Kumano River. Our journey mimics Imperial Pilgrims of old as sail for around 90 mins to Hayatama Taisha Shrine. Afterwards we travel by local bus back to Yunomine Onsen where we can enjoy a soak in the natural hot springs bath before dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Yunomine Onsen (Hot springs Ryokan) 

Day 7 Hike to Nachi Shrine and Waterfall

We transfer to Koguchi where we begin our walk to Nachi Shrine. We’ll hike over the Ogumotoigoe Pass where we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, before descending to Nachi-Taki waterfall and Nachi Taisha (Grand Shrine), one of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano.

From here it’s a short bus journey to Kii-Katsuura and to our hotel.

Walking distance: 14.5km / 9 miles

Elevation gain: 980m / 3,215 feet of ascent and 920m / 3,020 feet of descent

Time required: About 6 hours.

This morning, we will send our bags ahead of us to Kyoto.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodations: Kii Katsuura (Hot springs Ryokan) 

Day 8 Optional Coastal Hiking or relax at the Onsen hot Spring

Today we have an opportunity to hike along a different section of the Kumano Kodo. This is a coastal part of the Iseji route, which has come lovely views over the Pacific Ocean, pretty villages and the oldest paved section on the entire Kumano Kodo network, with some stones dating back eight hundred years. Alternativley you can choose to relax in hot springs onsen at your hotel or explore the local town with excellent seafood and old-fashioned Japanese shopping arcade.

Walking distance: 6.4km / 4.1 miles

Elevation gain: 546m / 1,790 feet of ascent and 539m / 1,768 feet of descent

Time required: About 3 hours.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Kii Katsuura (Hot springs Ryokan)

Day 9 By Train to Kyoto. Farewell Dinner

This morning leaves the coast and make our way back to Kyoto. Upon arrival we’ll have some free time to explore and maybe pick up a late minute souvenir or two before our farewell dinner.

We will be reunited with our bags today.

Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Accommodations: Kyoto (Hotel) 

Day 10 Tour Ends

On our final day we say farewell. A group transfers has been pre-arranged to take us back to Kansai International (KIX).

Meals: Breakfast


Included in the tour cost:

  • Accommodation in hotels, Japanese-style inns (ryokan, minshuku). Japanese-style accommodation will generally be in tatami-mat rooms.
  • Group Arrival and Departure Transfers
  • Meals are included as marked at the bottom of each day’s itinerary
  • All transportation between tour locations is included. This will normally be by trains (bullet trains and local), bus and sometimes taxi.
  • Full-time services of one of our local English-speaking tour guides
  • Entrance to museums, temples, etc. as indicated on the itinerary
  • Forwarding of one item of luggage, as detailed on the itinerary

Not included in the tour cost

  • Flights to and from Japan
  • Airport transfers other than main group transfers
  • All lunches
  • Drinks with meals, snacks and miscellaneous items, items of personal expenditure
  • Entrance fees to museums, temples etc. not included on the itinerary
  • Travel insurance

Tour notes 

Single rooms

We offer the option of a single room in Kyoto. Single rooms may not be available in ryokan. At the small family run inns on the trail, we may ask solo travellers to share a room with another member of the group of the same sex.

The following types of accommodation are used on this tour: 

Hotel (Kyoto, Kii-Katsuura)

A modern western-style hotel is used in Kyoto. The rooms are generally smaller than equivalent hotels in the West. Our city hotels have en-suite facilities, air-conditioning and TV; most have fridges in rooms. The hotel in Kii-Katsuura is a wonderful blend of Japanese and western styles; all rooms have Tatami mats and Futons laid out in the evening for sleeping. There are terrific indoor and outdoor communal thermal baths. 

Ryokan and Minshuku (Takahara, Yunomine, Chikatsuyu)

Ryokan and Minshuku are traditional Japanese-style inns. They may be in modern concrete or older wooden buildings, but the rooms are always in the Japanese style with Tatami (straw) matting floors, and Futons laid out in the evening for sleeping. Dinners are served together, usually in the dining room, and are exquisitely prepared multi-course meals. Some Ryokans have en-suite bathrooms, though older buildings generally offer shared facilities. Smaller inns offer domestic-scale bathing tubs used privately in turn by guests; larger inns offer communal spa-style baths, segregated by gender. They are the classic Japanese experience. 


Most meals will be Japanese cuisine. Vegetarian options are available but limited. Strict vegetarian diets, vegan diets, or gluten free diets will be difficult to accommodate due to the pervasiveness of the fish-based stock dashi and the use of soy sauce and miso in Japanese cuisine. Breakfast at Western-style hotels will feature more familiar choices, too. Lunches are not included; please bring Yen cash to cover these and other minor expenses. Lunches cost about JPY1,000 – JPY2,000 per day. Tips are not required in Japan.


During the tour, we send larger items of luggage ahead by courier to make the long-distance transfers by bus and train more relaxed. This means you do not have to handle your larger items of luggage through railway stations and on trains. However, those larger items of luggage do not rejoin us on the same day; and you will not have access to them on certain nights. So please bring a backpack to carry your overnight items. All the Japanese inns on the intervening nights provide soap, shampoo, towels, slippers and cotton robes called yukata, which are worn inside after you check-in. It is normal in Japan to wear yukata to eat dinner, to relax in your room and when walking about, even outdoors. This means you do not need extra clothing for the evening- you really can travel light! During the daytime, it may be possible to deposit this backpack in a luggage locker while walking or sightseeing, but please try to pack as lightly as possible.

The luggage forwarding takes place as follows:

Day 3, from Kyoto to Yunomine Onsen or Kawayu Onsen (Day 5)

Day 7, from Yunomine Onsen to Kyoto (Day 9)

As a general guide, we recommend you bring a small to medium size suitcase on wheels, as well as a medium size backpack. Please note that your tour price includes forwarding of one larger item of baggage per person, with a maximum weight of 25kg/55lb and maximum combined length + width + depth of 160cm/63 inches. If you choose to travel with two larger items of baggage, then your tour guide will happily arrange forwarding of both pieces and simply ask you to pay locally for the second item. 

Walkingpoles Our guides and an increasing number of our clients find walking poles helpful on the Kumano Ancient Trail tour. This is a personal choice. If you bring walking poles to Japan, please familiarise yourself with their use before your trip. We recommend folding poles which pack easily into your luggage and rubber tips to reduce the impact on the trails.


By Joining this trip, YOU:

  • Acknowledge all the TERMS & CONDITIONS: https://sgtrek.com/terms-conditions/
  • Acknowledge that YOU have read and agreed to RELEASE OF LIABILITY, WAIVER OF CLAIMS, EXPRESS ASSUMPTION OF RISK AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT FORM of (SGTREK) : https://sgtrek.com/sgtrek-indemnity-form/
  • YOU have read all the above paragraphs and YOU know, understand, and appreciate these and other risks that are inherent in The Activity. YOU hereby assert that your participation is voluntary and that YOU knowingly assume all such risks.
  • YOU acknowledge the agreement freely and voluntarily, and intend by completing this form and unconditional release of all liability to SGTREK PTE. LTD.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: https://sgtrek.com/terms-conditions/

For any queries related to the event do contact below person:
Phone: +65 92700908 (WhatsApp)
Email : contact@sgtrek.com

This trip is organized by: 
Reg. No. 201816267K
STB License No. 03160

Address: 28A, Kandahar Street
Singapore 198889
Email: contact@sgtrek.com
WhatsApp: +6592700908
Website: https://sgtrek.com

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