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Home » Adventure Travel » Adventure Travel Trips » Kyoto Culture & Kumano Kodo Trek

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Kyoto Culture & Kumano Kodo Trek

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November 14 - 28, 2018

CMC Members: $4625
Non-Members: $5100

Deposit: $500


Trip Overview

Experience Japan at the peak of fall foliage! Kyoto, formerly the Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years (from 794-1868), is one of the world’s most culturally rich cities scattered with hundreds, if not thousands, of pockets of amazing beauty. Kyoto has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites (the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”), 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines. There are 24 museums, amazing gardens and palaces—including the Imperial Palace, the former ruling palace of the Emperor of Japan before 1869. Kyoto is one of the most beautiful and best preserved cities in Japan.


We will spend three full days exploring a variety of temples, shrines, gardens and neighborhoods of Kyoto. Along the way, we’re sure to sample some interesting foods and beverages!


From Kyoto we’ll make our way by train to the coastal city of Tanabe, which we’ll explore on a guided walking tour. We’ll spend one day touring an Ume factory (Ume is a local fruit from which many products are made) and an organic garden, once a school, before heading into the mountains and our Kumano Kodo trek.


The Kumano Kodo is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross through the dense forests and mountains of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. The ancient pilgrimage is one of only two UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage routes in the world, the other being the Camino de Santiago in Spain. In 2015, the two routes were designated as “Dual Pilgrimage Routes” and pilgrims who walk both routes are recognized as Dual Pilgrims.


We will experience authentic, rural Japan as we follow in the footsteps of 11th-century imperial pilgrims to the sacred site Kumano Sanzan (the three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Hongu Taisha, Hayatama Taisha and Nachi Taisha). The Kumano Sanzan shrines are also UNESCO World Heritage sites; the shrines and the pilgrimage route are collectively known as the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range."


We’ll follow the UNESCO-registered section, the Nakahechi route, for six days of varied walking along village paths and forested mountain trails. We’ll visit mountain top villages, soothing hot springs, sacred shrines and temples before we finish our trek at Katsuura on the coast. Along the way we’ll take a traditional boat tour down the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano River to Shingu. Each night we’ll stay in local traditional minshuku or ryokan, where we’ll be welcomed as one of the family and where we’ll experience impeccable service, beautiful rooms, and delicious food.




A variety of Western-style (beds with en-suite toilet and bath) and Japanese-style (futons on the floor, shared gender-segregated toilets and baths) double-occupancy rooms. Please see the Itinerary & Welcome Letter for full descriptions. There is no single occupancy option.


Level of Activity / Difficulty

Participants should have the ability to walk comfortably in urban environments (3-4 miles per day), In addition, participants should have the ability to hike C-level trails (3-13 miles per day) in rural and densely forested settings. We will encounter a variety of terrain, including exposed rocks, tree roots and stone or wood steps. Shrines are often at the top of a hill and reachable only by a long series of steps. Participants should be in excellent health and have the ability and willingness to travel in these conditions. Do not be misled by the distances. The terrain is mountainous and difficult.


Other Notes

Attendance is required at the pre-trip planning meetings. The leader will also offer a series of optional, pre-trip hikes.


Trip Leader: Kris Ashton

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