12 nights (Self-guided)
Kyoto, Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Okunoshima & Osaka
From £1,995 pp
Our hiking itinerary allows you to venture off the beaten track and explore the beauty of Japan's flora and fauna. Perfect for all hiking enthusiasts, you will have the opportunity to visit some of Japan's lesser-known, more beautiful locations.
Start off in Kyoto – the cultural heartland of Japan. Discover scenic areas such as the lush Sagano Bamboo Grove, the breath-taking Kyoto Botanical Gardens, and the serene Fushimi Inari Shrine.
Venture to the south of Wakayama Prefecture to embark on your very own pilgrimage on the Kumano Kodo trail, much like the Imperial Family did over 900 years ago. Visit the majestic three Grand Shrines to pay respect to the gods thought to dwell there. Next head to Hiroshima and enjoy its peaceful and historical atmosphere.
A short trip away is the former feudal domain of Iwakuni. You will then sail to 'Rabbit Island', a National Park Resort that is now a haven for friendly rabbits.
Finally head to Osaka and discover hidden green spaces in Japan's second city.
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN JAPAN
Welcome to Japan! Our friendly Meet & Greet service representative will be waiting in the Arrivals lobby and holding a sign with your name on. The Meet & Greet will direct you to the Limousine Bus to Kyoto. Check in to your hotel in Kyoto for 4 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
DAY 2 – KYOTO
Start your day by visiting picturesque Arashiyama. Walk through the lush Sagano Bamboo Grove and enjoy watching monkeys play at nearby Monkey Park Iwatayama. Another option is to ride on the Sagano Scenic Railway through the forested ravine and return via a refreshing river cruise.
OPTIONAL GUIDED EXCURSION:
Join a morning guided walking tour. Visits include Tenryuji Temple, the Sagano Bamboo Grove, Jojakkoji Temple and the Togetsukyo Bridge, and concludes with a Japanese-style lunch in a Yakatabune boat.
DAY 3 – KYOTO
This morning embark on a Hidden Kyoto Bike Tour. Learn about tjhe Japanese history and culture of Kyoto as you cycle to sights off the beaten track. After lunch, we recommend you visit the beautiful Kyoto Botanical Gardens, peaceful Daitokuji Temple, and the grounds of Kotoin Temple. We can also offer several cultural classes to experience such as flower arranging or calligraphy.
DAY 4 – KYOTO
After breakfast, why not stroll southwards along the Philosopher's Walk in the footsteps of one of Japan's most famous philosophers Nishida Kitaro. Next, we suggest you make the ascent up to Fushimi Inari Shrine and walk through its thousands of torii gates. Alternatively, go for a warm-up hike up Mount Hiei for an amazing view of Kyoto, and end your day riding down the Hieizan Ropeway.
DAY 5 – KYOTO TO TAKAHARA (KUMANO KODO PILGRIMAGE TRAIL)
Over the next 4 days, experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano's spiritual countryside. Worship at the three Grand Shrines and search for heaven on earth. After arriving at the coastal town of Tanabe, today's hike takes you through Takijiri-oji to Takahara (known as the 'village in the mist'). Stay one night in your first minshuku (family inn) with dinner included tonight.
DAY 6 – TAKAHARA TO TSUGIZAKURA-OJI (KUMANO KODO)
Today marks the longest but most rewarding hike. After collecting your homemade bento (lunch), walk on paved paths and mountain trails through Chikatsuyu village to Tsugizakura-oji. Many walkers opt to eat their lunch en route to appreciate the tranquil surroundings. Travel on to your second minshuku and relax with a delicious dinner.
DAY 7 – TSUGIZAKURA-OJI TO KAWAYU ONSEN (KUMANO KODO)
Your hosts will provide you with a delicious homemade bento before you go. Learn about the interesting history and culture of the area from your English-speaking Guide today as you hike towards the first Grand Shrine. Soak in either an indoor bath or the river hot springs tonight for a well-earned rest at your third Kumano minshuku. A seasonal dinner will be prepared for you.
DAY 8 – KAWAYU ONSEN TO SHINGU/NACHIKATSUURA TO NACHI FALLS (KUMANO KODO)
Your last pilgrimage day will start off by sailing down the Kumanogawa River to the coastal town of Shingu. Offer your prayers at the second and third Grand Shrine. A short bus ride or walk away is Nachi Waterfall, where a picturesque scene of an orange pagoda in front of Japan's tallest waterfall awaits you, a perfect place to eat your homemade bento. Stay in a lovely minshuku with beautiful views of the waterfall for one night.
DAY 9 – NACHI FALLS TO HIROSHIMA
Transfer by Bullet train to Hiroshima and check into your hotel for 3 nights. Explore the moving Peace Memorial Museum located inside the Peace Memorial Park. Tonight sample Hiroshima's local delicacy – okonomiyaki.
DAY 10 – HIROSHIMA/IWAKUNI
Travel to former feudal domain Iwakuni, best known for its most distinguished landmark the 5 arched Kintaikyo Bridge. Stroll around Kikko Park, featuring former samurai residences. Take the ropeway to the amazing view from the lookout before coming across the striking 4-story Iwakuni Castle.
DAY 11 – DAY TRIP TO RABBIT ISLAND (OKUNOSHIMA)
Take the ferry to Rabbit Island for an unforgettable day trip. Home to over 1,000 rabbits, visit these friendly critters at this National Park Resort and experience a cuteness overload. Learn about Okunoshima itself at the island's museum and end your day travelling to the summit for a 360-degree panoramic view.
DAY 12 – HIROSHIMA TO OSAKA
Head to Osaka for your final day and night in Japan where you will stay for one night in a hotel. Wander around Tennoji Park or visit the Minoh Waterfall – both lovely spots for photos. Osaka Castle is also well worth a visit. Tonight splash out on a farewell dinner in one of Osaka's famous restaurants.
DAY 13 – DEPART JAPAN
Sadly, it's time to leave Japan. Transfer to Kansai International Airport and return to the UK on the same day.
HOW INDEPENDENT TOURS WORK
ENJOY INDEPENDENT TRAVEL BUT NOT THE HASSLE OF PLANNING?
OUR INDEPENDENT TOURS COULD BE JUST THE TICKET!
Carefully put together by our team of specialists, our excellent collection of sample itineraries is designed to inform and inspire your next Japan adventure. Every one of our Independent Tours is fully tailor-made for you, ensuring your trip is everything you want it to be.
It's quite straightforward to travel independently in Japan. We will provide just the right amount of support and logistical planning to make you feel comfortable in a very foreign land. These itineraries are available for any departure date (with a few exclusions coinciding with Japanese National Holidays and some weekends). We'll do all the work for you and provide you with an information pack to make your trip run smoothly. You can also add guided tours as indicated and if you do want your own personal guide we can arrange this too.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS & LOCATION GUIDE
PRICING & INCLUSIONS
3* accommodation from £1,955.00 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
3* Single Room supplement from £560.00
4* accommodation from £2,595.00 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
4*Single Room supplement from £600.00
5* accommodation price on request
8 nights’ accommodation in a Twin/Double room at 3* or 4* hotels in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka on a bed & breakfast basis
3 nights’ accommodation in friendly Japanese minshuku along the Kumano Kodo trail on a dinner, bed & breakfast, and packed lunch basis*
1-night accommodation in a friendly Japanese minshuku along the Kumano Kodo trail on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis*
1-Day Kansai Area Pass allowing you unlimited travel on Special Rapid, Rapid and Local trains on designated JR West lines
5-Day Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass allowing you unlimited travel on Special Rapid, Rapid and Local trains on designated JR West lines including Shinkansen (Bullet Train) services
Morning/Afternoon Escorted Kyoto Bike Tour on Day 3
Full-Day Guide on the Kumano Kodo hike on Day 7
Transfer from Kansai International Airport/Osaka (by Airport Limousine Bus)
Meet & Greet services on arrival at Kansai International Airport (Osaka)
Detailed Japan Journeys Information Pack including detailed train schedules, maps, & brochures.
Personalised Japan Journeys App to help manage your documents
All Japanese sales taxes and service charge
Full financial protection via Japan Journeys’ membership of the Travel Trust Association through which your monies are held in a Trust Account until you return home (under Membership N U3078), see: http://www.traveltrust.co.uk
*Please note that if there is no availability for Kumano Kodo accommodation for the dates requested, similar accommodation will be booked.
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Taxi, subway, and tramway fees
Optional excursions (see below)
OPTIONAL GUIDED TOURS
Kyoto: £135.00 per person – morning tour, including lunch.
To make a booking, a deposit of 10% of the total price is required.
The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.
Travel can be a great experience, but it can also be fraught with problems, so when going anywhere it is essential you are properly covered with good travel insurance. You should be protected against cancellation, curtailment, and loss or damage to your belongings as well as medical emergencies and have peace of mind if the unexpected happens.
Japan Journeys in association with Holiday Extras, is now able to offer excellent low-cost cover to their customers.