Japan Pilgrimage Trail

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Trip Overview

Duration

10 Days

Activities

Cultural
Hiking

Physical Rating

Moderate

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Step Back in Time

Travel deep into the colorful and cultural pockets of Japan from Osaka to Kyoto. This country is deeply steeped in tradition and ceremony—meditation and reflection are at the heart of Japanese culture. The ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route is testament to this. Spend three days on this sacred path, walking from Takahara to the Nachi Grand Shrine. The landscape will startle you at every turn—from the camphor and bamboo forests to the thousand-year-old conifers of the Kii Mountain region. Follow in the shadowed footsteps of monks, philosophers and the female pilgrims who were once forbidden to enter the holy sites of Koyasan.


A Transformative Pilgrimage

Enter a World of Deep Traditions

On this journey into Japan, we learn about the religious practice of Shugendō, hear the stories behind the elaborate shrines and temples and witness the evolution of the Women’s Pilgrimage Course. We sleep in traditional ryokans on tatami mats, attend a fire ceremony and create parchment-like washi-paper. At day’s end, it’s all about purifying in the healing waters of the onsens. Introduce your palate and senses to some truly unexpected local flavors and surprises.

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Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Osaka

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  • Day 2

    The Sacred Kumano Kodo

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  • Day 3

    Kumano

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  • Day 4

    Pilgrimage to Hongu Taisha

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  • Day 5

    The Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine The Fossil Seawaters

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  • Day 6

    Katsuragi to Koyasan

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  • Day 7

    The Women’s Pilgrimage Course

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  • Day 8

    Kyoto

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  • Day 9

    The Sacred Gyoja Pathway

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  • Day 10

    Departure

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Take a Deeper Dive

Want all the details in one handy package? Download the full itinerary here. 

What’s Included

  • checkmark icon An awesome English-speaking female guide
  • checkmark icon Nine nights’ accommodation in hotels, including four nights in traditional tatami-style rooms (*Optional private single upgrades are only available for seven of the nine nights and are subject to availability)
  • checkmark icon All ground transport including trains and buses
  • checkmark icon Group arrival and departure airport transfers
  • checkmark icon Traditional boat tour of the Kumano River (90 minutes)
  • checkmark icon All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 10
  • checkmark icon Private group meditation
  • checkmark icon Japanese washi paper-making lesson (30 minutes)
  • checkmark icon Geisha dinner show
  • checkmark icon Entry to onsens (hot springs)
  • checkmark icon Admission to shrines and temples
Please Note:

All applicable taxes are included in the trip price.

At some of the boutique accommodation we use we are unable to secure private rooms. On this trip the private upgrade is for seven out of the nine nights, on the other two you may have a roommate.

Itineraries may be subject to change without notice due to weather and other environmental conditions. Please review our Booking Terms.

Trip Details

Know Before You Go

Click HERE for all of the logistical details you’ll need to know prior to departure—including the packing list, arrival and departure details and suggested tipping information.

This trip starts in Osaka Kansai International Airport (KIX) and finishes in Kyoto, Japan, with a transfer back to Osaka Kansai International Airport (airport code: KIX).

The Kumano Kodo

Please note that the distance covered on the Kumano Kodo on this trip does not qualify for a dual pilgrim status if you have a Compostela from the Camino de Santiago. You must walk 62 miles (100 km) on the Kumano to receive this unique designation.

How We Support You

Ready for a big adventure? We’re in it together. On this trip, we spend many days hiking. Yes, some of it can be a challenge, but you’re never alone. Like thousands of women before you, you’ll draw on strength you didn’t know you had and come out feeling like the goddess you are. 

Like all our trips, this trip can be scaled to suit different abilities and comfort levels. Still have concerns? Let’s talk about it.

What the Trip Entails

This is an active hiking adventure. We would like you to be comfortable with the following:

  • checkmark icon Walking distances on this trip vary from 1.4 to 8.7 miles (2.2 to 14 km) and involve steep climbs, uneven steps, cobblestone, and slippery moss-covered paths
  • checkmark icon The Kumano Kodo section will involve walking 18 miles (29 km) over the course of 4 days
  • checkmark icon Some days involve long train travel of up to 5 hours and several modes of transportation. Please pack efficiently and choose sensible luggage that suits boarding trains and buses
  • checkmark icon Four nights will be spent in accommodations offering tatami rooms, which are traditional Japanese rooms with tatami flooring. These Washitsu-style accommodations have sliding doors (fusuma) versus hinged doors
  • checkmark icon Expect a menu and flavors that may be unfamiliar to you
  • checkmark icon If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to enter certain onsens
  • checkmark icon Physical Rating: Moderate (Good level of fitness required. Trips are moderately challenging with an average of 4 to 6 hours of activity each day.)
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