Duration: 12 nights
Destinations: Kyoto, Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Okunoshima, Osaka
Recommended Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Price: from £1,995.00

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.

Download the Hike the Sacred Trail Tour Brochure and a Reservation Form

HOW OUR INDEPENDENT TOURS WORK

Enjoy independent travel but not the hassle of planning? One of our Independent Tours could be just the ticket. Carefully put together by our team of specialists, our excellent collection of sample itineraries are 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 straight forward 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 which coincide 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.

WHAT NEXT?

If you’re interested in this itinerary, please let us know the following and we will get back to you with a quote:

  • Your proposed dates of travel
  • Your preferred grade of accommodation (e.g. 3*, 4*, or 5*)
  • Your preferred room type (e.g. Double, Twin or Singles)
  • How many adults and children this is for (and the age of the children at the time of travel)

 

NOT FROM THE UK?

Don’t worry! We deal with countless passengers from outside of the UK. You just need to let us know the information above (and you can arrange your own flights to Japan).

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

 

ItineraryLocation GuideAccommodationInclusions

Hike the Sacred Trail

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 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.

 

 railpassJapan Rail Pass
The JR Pass allows you almost unlimited travel for 7/14/21 days on all Japan Rail lines throughout the country. It allows you to travel on the world-famous Bullet Train (Shinkansen).

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

Kyoto

Kyoto is where you will find the Japan of silent temples nestling in bamboo groves, gardens of finely raked sand and bewitching geisha. This city is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, exquisite crafts and some of the best cuisine in the country. In short, Kyoto is the heartbeat of traditional Japan. Not to be missed are Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji  and  Kiyomizu  temples,  although  be  aware  that  these  do  become crowded. For  a more peaceful, intimate temple experience we recommend the temple complex of Daitoku-ji, in particular Daisen-in sub-temple, and the Arashiyama area to the west of the city.

 

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail

For over a millennium, the sacred trails of the Kii Peninsula have been traversed by pilgrims, as legend has it that this mountainous region is the home of Japan’s nature spirits. Everyone from samurai and emperors to monks and peasants have visited the shrines hidden deep within the area’s forests. In 2004, the Old Roads of Kumano became one of only two walking routes recognised as a World Heritage Site.

 

Hiroshima

Hiroshima is an attractive, cosmopolitan city which has risen from the ashes of the world’s first atomic bomb attack on 6 August 1945. The hypocentre of the explosion is now the Peace Memorial Park, a beautiful expanse of greenery housing monuments to the tragedy. The park is flanked by the A-Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Museum.

 

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Iwakuni

During the Edo Period, Iwakuni used to be one the feudal domains of Japan. Best known for its structurally unique Kintaikyo Bridge, this area is particularly attractive during the cherry blossom season in early April. Its former mountain-top castle was reconstructed in the 1960s and overlooks the city 200 metres below.

 

 

Okunoshima (“Rabbit Island”)

A small island located just offshore from the coast of Hiroshima Prefecture is home to over 1,000 rabbits. Many tourists visit to seek good fortune for their family’s fertility and blessing of safe childbirth. The island is currently part of a national park and offers a wide variety of things to enjoy such as hot springs, fishing and sampling local delicacies.

 

 

Osaka

Known as the “kitchen of Japan”, Osaka is renowned for its warm-hearted, lively locals. Osaka Castle dominates the city as the old mixes with the very modern skyline, and the aquarium is not to be missed. The city comes alive at night with endless opportunities to wine, dine and party.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

Hotels in Kyoto

ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto

Kyoto
Superior

Not only is this superior hotel located right in front of the prominent world heritage site Nijo Castle, the convenient shuttle bus makes visiting places like Inari, Uji or Nara very easy. Their renovated rooms are very comfortable and clean, with luxurious bath amenities.
It offers a relaxing spa and pool, and has Japanese, Chinese and international cuisine restaurants.

This quirky hotel has spacious rooms with some special themes such as Kabuki and Sakura, and all rooms are equipped with air conditioning and free WiFi. As it is located in the centre of Kyoto, you can visit iconic places such as nearby Ponto-cho with beautiful townscape and Gion area with the chance to see a geisha.

This business class hotel features compact well-equipped rooms with flat screen TVs, refrigerators and bathroom amenities. All rooms have free wi-fi. Computer terminals are available in the lobby along with 24-hour coin laundry.
Breakfast is a light Japanese breakfast consisting of rice balls, miso soup, some salad items and also a little bread.

Superbly located on Shijo Street which is the main street for shopping with a number of department stores and fantastic restaurants. Nearby is the fascinating Nishiki food market and the covered markets.

Hotels/Minshuku in Kumano Kodo Trail

Kiri no Sato Takahara

Kumano Kodo
Standard

This Japanese-Western fusion hotel offers enchanting scenery from their rooms overlooking the Hatenashi mountain range. Wake up to breath-taking panoramic views, particularly beautiful when the valley is filled with mist.
Rooms include air conditioning, free WiFi, a television, a refrigerator and a safety box. You can relax in either a shared indoor or outdoor hot spring bath after your first hike of the trail. They provide international cuisine and many ingredients are produced locally, which gives them their nickname as the “Organic Hotel”. In the morning, a delicious bento will be provided.

Minpaku Akatsuki

Kumano Kodo
Standard

Located in the neighbourhood of Kurisugawa, this homestay is run by a cheery husband and wife team. A comfortable and welcoming environment, this is a chance to also gain an insight into a typical Japanese home. You will be picked up from the Takahara settlement for free, have access to wired LAN and free usage of the washing machine.
You will be able to unwind and relax after your first Kumano Kodo hike where a delicious dinner will be provided. In the morning a lovely filling breakfast and a homemade bento (lunch box) will start off your day for your second hike.

Minshuku Kobuchi

Kumano Kodo
Standard

Minshuku Kobuchi is a family-run Guesthouse on the west side of Kawayu Onsen with the crystal clear Oto river running by the doorstep. With a television and air conditioning in each room, you can relax in comfort after using their own indoor hot spring (open all hours).
Their bento (lunch box) is renowned as perfect with its traditional food made with local ingredients. A fantastic base for visitors, walkers and pilgrims.

Minshuku Omuraya

Kumano Kodo
Standard

Located in the middle of the Kawayu Onsen hot spring village Tanabe, this minshuku (inn) delivers a welcoming, “at-home” atmosphere that has never failed to satisfy those who stay. You can use the surrounding hot springs bathhouses, or perhaps you would like to use the hot spring river situated directly in front of the minshuku. Afterwards you can wear your free Japanese-style robe (yukata) to complete the authentic Japanese experience.
All rooms contains an en suite toilet, air-conditioning, a television, a safety box and free internet access. Delicious Japanese meals will be served at dinner and breakfast, and you will continue on the Kumano Kodo trail with a traditional bento (lunch box), which includes mehari-zushi (rice wrapped in a pickled mustard leaf, a local speciality).

Minshuku Tsugizakura

Kumano Kodo
Standard

Named after the nearby Tsugizakura shrine, this accommodation offers beautiful mountain scenery from spacious rooms. The owner worked professionally as a famous chef and cooked in high-end restaurants all over Japan. The level of his expertise is displayed in every meal, using local high-quality produce, and impresses every time!
Whilst you eat your dinner, your futon will be laid out in your Japanese-style room. Before sleeping, the serene surroundings are a perfect spot for evening strolls. As you set out in the morning, you will receive a delicious bento (lunch box) and you can fill up your bottle with fresh clean water at the nearby Nonaka-no-Shimizu spring.

Mitaki Sanso

Kumano Kodo
Standard

Mitaki Sanso has the privilege of being the only accommodation in Nachisan, located just below the Kumano Nachi Taisha and Seiganto-ji Temple. From your spacious rooms you will have a wonderful view of Japan’s highest waterfall, which is also worshipped as a deity.
Meals feature local produce in dishes, highlighting the seafood from the nearby Pacific coast. All rooms have free WiFi access, a television, a refrigerator, air conditioning and a kotatsu heated table (for the colder months).

Hotels in Hiroshima

Hotel Granvia Hiroshima

Hiroshima
Superior

Hotel Granvia Hiroshima is directly connected to the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Line’s JR Hiroshima Station.
Each room is equipped with various amenities and designed to make your stay in a hotel a great experience. Comfortable bed and well-cleaned room will guarantee your leisurely stay.
Hotel Granvia Hiroshima has 8 restaurants, bars, and karaoke. Guests can be satisfied with the best cuisines ranging from Japanese dishes to delicious world dishes and desserts.

Mitsui Garden Hotel Hiroshima

Hiroshima
Standard

Located less than 5 minutes from the moving Hiroshima Peace Museum, this hotel has a French buffet-style restaurant and a Japanese “kaiseki” cuisine restaurant, as well as an Italian self-service café. Rooms include an en suite bathroom with the usual amenities and free WiFi access.

Hotels in Osaka

Hotel Granvia Osaka

Osaka
Superior

Hotel Granvia Osaka, located in the center of the spirited and historic city of Osaka, Japan, offers guests a sophisticated retreat and direct connection to JR Osaka train lines.
Generously proportioned and astutely decorated, the rooms here have a mixture of chic and warmth that mirror the personality of the city of Osaka, with its dizzying skyline rising above the bustling and cheerful streets. There is a full range of quality amenities as one would expect from a hotel of this calibre.
The Granvia, Osaka, features an array of fine dining and casual restaurants, including Japanese, Italian, French and Chinese cuisines. Revel in the city’s nightlife at the hotel’s chic bar and two lounges, or grab a quick snack at the café.

This business class hotel features compact well-equipped rooms with flat screen TVs, refrigerators and bathroom amenities. All rooms have free wi-fi. Computer terminals are available in the lobby along with 24-hour coin laundry.

Breakfast is a light Japanese breakfast consisting of rice balls, miso soup, some salad items and also a little bread.

This hotel is right in the heart of Osaka, only a few minutes’ walk from the popular Shinsaibashi shopping district, trendy street fashion distict Amerika Mura, and from Dotonbori, Osaka’s famous covered arcade. Osaka is really a party town, so there are an exceptional range of restaurants, shops and bars to get stuck into. Stations of various central subway lines are nearby, so access to the rest of the city by subway is also very easy.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

Price Includes

  • 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

  • International airfare
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Taxi, subway and tramway fees
  • Insurance
  • Baggage Transfers
  • Optional excursions (see below)

 

Download the Hike the Sacred Trail Tour Brochure and a Reservation Form

PRICE:
The price for this Hike the Sacred Trail independent itinerary as detailed above is as follows:

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

 

Optional Guided Excursion in Kyoto: £135.00 per person – morning tour, including lunch.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange and are subject to availability. All prices are good for travel before the end of 2017 but exclude blackout periods which coincide with Japanese National Holidays and some weekends.

WHAT NEXT?

If you’re interested in this itinerary, please let us know the following and we will get back to you with a quote:

  • Your proposed dates of travel
  • Your preferred grade of accommodation (e.g. 3*, 4*, or 5*)
  • Your preferred room type (e.g. Double, Twin or Single)
  • How many adults and children this is for (and the age of the children at the time of travel)

 

NOT FROM THE UK?

Don’t worry! We deal with countless passengers from outside of the UK. You just need to let us know the information above (and you can arrange your own flights to Japan).
To make a booking, a deposit of 10% of the total price or £250.00 per person (whichever is greater) is required.

The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.

Full terms and Conditions

All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange and are subject to availability.

INSURANCE

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.

Please click on the image below for a quote.

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