- Walk the 10th-century Royal Pilgrimage Route
- Visit the 3 Grand Shrines of Kumano
- Ancient forests, traditional inns & hot spring baths
- Twinned with the Camino de Santiago
- UNESCO World Heritage pilgrim route
The ancient trail passes through small villages and forest trails over the Kii Mountains to the three 'Grand Shrines of Kumano' Hongu, Nachi and Hatayama. At the heart of these sacred mountains, Kumano was said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, the 'other world' which spirits travelled to in Japanese mythology. You will stay in Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot-spring villages in Japan, or to Kawayu Onsen famous for the thermal water bubbling to the surface of the crystal clear river. Here you have the chance to take part in traditional cultural activities - washi paper making, walk with an ascetic monk, take a riverboat journey or take part in zazen meditation. The Kumano Kodo trail passes several Oji shrines on clearly defined paths, and flagstones have been laid in some places to make the climbs easier. The trail signage is in English and Japanese. Take time to relax and bathe in a hot spring before dinner at a family-run Minshuku guest-houses. Camino de Santiago pilgrims will receive their dual certificate in Hongu.