Kumano Kodo: God’s Earth Pilgrimage - Japanspecialist
Journey to the heart of Japan's spirituality and nature in 14 days.
Take to the skies to discover one of the most beautiful and famous regions of Japan on this tour. Pass by the ancient capital of Japan, Nara and its free-roaming deer, and enjoy Japan off the beaten track. Walk the pilgrimage routes of "Kumano Kodo", one of the only two UNESCO-recognised pilgrimage sites, and enter the highest place of Shinto worship in Japan, Ise Shrine. This tour is perfect for those who are looking to experience authentic Japanese culture.
Today you will board your flight to Japan, so ready to discover the fascinating culture of this amazing country.
After arriving, you'll head to your hotel in Kyoto and check in. Kyoto is a city populated by many UNESCO Heritage Sites, temples and shrines. Enjoy the rest of your day walking around your hotel looking for restaurants, admiring the architecture and sampling the excellent cuisine.
Today is a great chance to visit the north of the city and explore two famous temples: the gold-covered Kinkaku-ji, and Ryoan-ji, best known for its famous rock garden.
Afterwards, check out Nijo Castle before getting lost in the large garden of the Imperial Palace, and maybe have a drink at Okura Hotel and take in the city view.
Travel through time with a visit to the Gion district, where you might spot a Geisha, then walk towards Yasaka Shrine, the starting point to explore the Higashiyama district. After, head over to Kiyomizu Temple, you can enjoy incredible views overlooking the city and surrounding hills.
This morning you go to your next stop, Nara, situated less than an hour by train from Kyoto.
Nara has many urban attractions and rich historical culture. The main places of interest are located around the station.
Visit Nara Park, where you'll meet free-roaming deer and see the Todai-ji temple, a stunning wooden sculpture that houses a Grand Buddha Daibutsu-den bronze statue.
This morning take the train to Japan's most important sacred city: Ise. Here you'll find Ise Shrine, where according to Shinto legend, the spirits of the emperors of Japan rest. The shrine is also home to the most important object of Japanese mythology, the Yata no Kagami, divine mirror and one of the three sacred treasures of Japan, having belonged to the first emperors of Japan.
Use this day to explore Ise-Shima National Park in Mie Prefecture, accessible by train from Iseshi Station. The most famous site of this park is Meoto-Iwa, the two 'wedded' rocks, said to represent the creator gods of Japan, connected by a rope made of rice straw.
Mie is full of culinary specialities. Be sure to try the matsusaka beef and seafood. Ise lobster, abalone and oyster are especially famous.
In the morning, you'll head to Kii-Katsuura, best known for its fishing industry and its onsen positioned ideally on the southeastern coast of Kii Peninsula. Kii-Katsura's market is good enough to rival Tsukiji's, so be sure to try the fresh fish from one of the surrounding restaurants. After, cruise through the Kino-Matsushima Archipelago, discovering its caves and hundreds of islets.
Today you'll explore part of the Kumano pilgrimage routes, with a trek from the Daimon-zaka walk to Nachi Shrine. This journey is a perfect way to experience "Kumano Kodo" without the planning and effort of a multi-day hike. The course, barely one kilometre, follows a paved path flanked by hundred-year-old trees.
Nachi Shrine is one of the three great shrines in Kumano; it's a retreat in the heart of nature and of Japanese spirituality. Right next to this shrine, a magnificent landscape awaits you; the Seiganto-ji temple with its three-story pagoda in the foreground and the Nachi Falls in the background.
Depart by train to Shingu, try to visit Kumano Hayatama-Taisha Shrine, one of the three listed sites of the Kumano Pilgrimage Route (Kumano Kodo). This sanctuary is one of the three essential stages of the pilgrimage. Then, from Shingu, take a local bus to Yunomine-Onsen.
A delicious typical Japanese dinner will be waiting for you at your ryokan (Japanese accommodation) in the evening.
Today it's off to Wakayama. Take the bus from Yunomine Onsen to Kii-Tanabe town (included), then a train to Wakayama.
The city has retained its historic centre. Today the city is also a seaside resort which offers swimming, cultural visits and incredible landscapes. Visit the local Kuroshio Market for some excellent tuna, and explore Wakayama Castle before strolling through the beautiful Momijidani Teien Park, which is especially beautiful in autumn.
You'll depart Wakayama for Osaka by train. The city has been able to modernize while keeping traditional districts alive. Explore this epicurean city through its small dishes and lively neighbourhoods. Take the time to enjoy some takoyaki and say hello to the giant Dotonbori crab. You can also take to the skies with a visit to the Umeda Sky Building and its observatory suspended between two skyscrapers. At night go to Minami district to enjoy neon lights and vibrant city life.
We suggest you visit the Shitennoji temple and the Keitakuen garden for a peaceful end of the trip. Continue with a visit to Tennoji district, its park and its temple. At the end of the day, return to the excitement of the city around the Tsutenkaku Tower with the Shinsekai district, a retro neighbourhood famous for its gastronomy. Try kushikatsu (fried meat, vegetable or seafood skewers).
It's time to leave Japan. You will be picked up at your hotel by a driver to go to Osaka Kansai Airport. Grab some last-minute souvenirs at the duty-free shops (like Japan's uniquely flavoured Kit-Kats) before taking your flight to Europe.
Length: 14 Days
Visiting places: Kyoto, Nara, Ise, Kii-Katsuura, Yunomine Onsen, Wakayama, Osaka
Departing from: All major European airports
Price: From EUR 2.380,- (learn more about prices)
- High seasons: 10-25 April, 25 June – 31 July and 01 September – 15 November
- Super high seasons: 15 March – 10 April, 25 April – 10 May and 01 – 31 August
- Surcharges are applicable during high and super high seasons, please contact us for price details
- Airport tax, fees and 20-23 kgs checked luggage
- 3 nights in western style hotel in Kyoto
- 1 night in western style hotel in Nara
- 2 nights in western style hotel in Ise with open air bath
- 2 nights in Japanese style ryokan in Kii-Katsuura
- 1 night in Japanese style ryokan in Yunomine Onsen (no rivate bath/toilet)
- 1 night in western style hotel in Wakayama
- 2 nights in western style hotel in Osaka
- Airport transport (bus or shared taxi) upon arrival and departure
- Kintetsu Pass 5 days, 2nd class
- BUS RYUJIN - Yunomine Onsen -> Kii-Tanabe
- Suica Card 2,000 yens (500 yens of caution)
- JR Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass : 5 days, 2nd class
- Dinner and breakfast in Yunomine Onsen
- Valuable and detailed information about your trip
- Transport not mentioned above (e.g. local metro/bus/taxi etc.)
- Beverages during meals included (except tap-water and green tea)
- Meals unless mentioned above
- Local city tax which needs to be paid on the spot (selected cities only)
- Optional excursions and sightseeing tours
- Travel and cancellation insurance