ancient post towns at Nakasendo trail, Nachi fall on Kumano Kodo, the stunning Ise Shima and Kyoto on a bike, this is a Japan that make you sweat, in a great way!

Nakasendo trail? Kumano Kodo? Kyoto on a bike? or Southern ilses on a kayak? This is the Japan you want to experience in an active way! We walk through the tranquil ancient post towns along the famous Nakasendo trail, hop on a bike along the beautiful Kamon river in Kyoto and sweat our way on the legendary Kumano pilgrim trail and kayak the beautiful bay at Ise Shima.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Tokyo, Japan
Finish
Osaka, Japan
Country
Japan
Style
Original
Code
CJXH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • - Neon lights, Matsumoto Castle, Kinkakuji the Golden temple, biggest Tuna market, etc, we experience these best parts of Japanese culture and life, and a lot more on foot, on bike and on Kayak.

  • - We travel the way locals do! local trains, fast trains, public bues or taxis. There's no better way to feel llike a true local than riding along with them.

  • - Kumano Kodo is one of the only 2 UNESCO listed pilgrim trails in the world and we'll trek one of the best part of it and see one of the biggest water falls in Japan, Nachi Falls.

  • - Stay overnight at the tranquil Narai, Magome and Kugochi, the post towns along the ancient Nakasendo highway that linked Tokyo and Kyoto in the past, which provides a great insight into the countryside life in Japan.

  • - Kayak the amazing waters or lie on the beach at the stunning Ise Shima, well deserved after some great effort trekking and biking in Japan.

Is this trip right for you?

  • - This is an active trip so you'll enjoy it the best if you have the experience of trekking, biking and kayaking before.

  • - We also think that this trip is perfect if you are looking for a reasonably active way to experience Japan without going hard core for it. The hiking distances vary from 3 km to about 15 km with elevation from 60m to almost 900m on one hike.

  • - We find it's very helpful when packing light for travelling in Japan on public transfers. You'll need to carry your own luggage for public transports, at times without elevators.

  • - Some of our accommodation includes shared bathing facilities with set times for men and women. Some properties may also have a curfew by which all guests must have returned for the night (usually around midnight).

  • - We like to encourage travellers to indulge in traditional Japanese 'onsens' while in the country as it is a quintessential local experience. This means bathing naked in the presence of others of the same gender. While the experience can feel strange at first, most of our groups end up enjoying this activity. If you feel uncomfortable with bathing naked, please feel free to skip taking part.

  • - Decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, nobody will make a comment about your tattoos but please endeavour to wear modest clothing and be aware that you may not be able to enter public onsens.

  • - With the low unemployment rate in Japan, your tour leader may either be a local Japanese or a foreign long term resident in Japan.

Itinerary

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo, Japan. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm tonight. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Have your insurance and next of kin details on hand as we'll be collecting them here. After the meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Tokyo in the morning and hop on our first train to Matsumoto. Admire the magnificent Matsumoto castle, one of the oldest castle in Japan with 400 year old history. Nicknamed "Karasujo" (Crow Castle), Matsumoto castle was painted in black to sow fear in the attackers back in 1595.

After the visit, hop back on the train and continue to the tranquil town Narai on the famous Nakasendo post way that linked the ancient Tokyo and Kyoto. Narai was once the most wealthy post town along Nakasendo and marked the half way between Kyoto and Edo (ancient name of Tokyo). Wander along the streets in Narai lined by the preserved or restored old houses and rest for the night.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel to Tsumago where we'll visit Waki- Honjin, the former inn that served the high-ranking officials back in the days. This is where we get to have a glimpse of what it was like - what their life was like, how the furniture was positioned, even how to use the toilet.

Then we'll hike from Tsumago to Magome, part ofthe Nakasendo trail. About 8 km long, this part of the route is well maintained. Enjoy the tranquil Kiso valley with villages dotted among the fields and locals working on them. Arrive at Magome in the afternoon where we'll rest for the night.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tsumago - Waki Honjin
  • Nakasendo Trail - Tsumago to Magome hiking
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Continue our hike along the Nakasendo trail from Magome to Nakatsugawa (approx. 3 hrs), from where we'll take the train to Kyoto via Nagoya.

Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally “tranquillity and peace capital”) by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court's heyday from 794 to 1185. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years (the name means “Capital City”) but the emperor and government are now located in Tokyo. With over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in.

Arrive at Kyoto, and we'll visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings.
Included Activities
  • Nakasendo Trail - Magome to Nakatsugawa hiking
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, we pick up our rerntal bikes and bike along the Kamon River. Kamon River is the perfect place to get away from the Kyoto crowds and see the locals go about their daily business. During the ride, we'll visit Tofuku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, built about 800 years ago. We'll also pass by Toji temple, Nishi Honganji temple, Nijo Castle and Daitokuji Temple (visits optional, entry not included).
Our lunch is included at the fabulous vegetarian Izusen restaurant. In the afternoon, we'll bike to visit the glamorous Golden temple, Kinkakuji and then back to our bike shop.
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Kyoto Cycling
  • Kyoto - Tofuku-ji Temple
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Today, we'll visit Ginkakuji, also know as the Silver Pavillion, which was built more than 500 years ago after the model of the Golden Pavillion Kinkakuji. Then perhaps take the optional walk down the Philosopher pass through Nanzenji big gates to Heihan Jingu Tori gates.

Enjoy a free afternoon in Kyoto. Make the best of your time here in this charming ancient capital. Encounter a Geisha in the Gion district, enjoy a tea ceremony or continue your spiritual quest in one of the many temples in the city.
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Ginkakuji Temple
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We continue our journey on the train to Shingu. Visit Shingu shrine, one of the 3 main shrines that are part of the Kumano kodo network. Then we'll visit Kamikura Shrine, one of the oldest sacred shrine in Shingu which has a stunning view over the Shingu city and out to the Pacific ocean.

Change to a local public bus here to Koguchi, where we'll rest for the night and get ready for tomorrow's hike.
Included Activities
  • Shingu - Shingu Shrine
  • Shingu - Kamikura Shrine
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Early start! Today we'll hike part of the famous Kumado Kodo, one of the only two UNESCO listed pilgrim route.

The Kumano Kodo is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that connect three major religious sites - known collectively as the Kumano Sanzan. Through centuries, the pilgrim route has been used by the royal families, the Samurai and the common crowds as part of their practice of the Buddhism, what is essentially a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto.

For the first 2.5h to 3h it is an uphill climb up that rises over 800 meters. After reaching the Echizen toge, we will follow the forest ridge for another couple of kilometers until reach the highest point, Funami-jaya teahouse at 868m. From here its another 4.4km to Nachi Taisha, mostly downhill.

Visit the Nachi Taisha, one of the 3 Kumano shrines, and the Nachi falls, then we'll take taxis down to Kii Katsuura for the night.
Included Activities
  • Kumano Kudo - hiking
  • Kumano Kodo - Kumano Nachi Taisha
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head to the biggest Tuna market in Japan in the morning. Nachikatsuura claims to have the highest volume of tuna fish hauls in all of Japan and the tuna which are caught in the coastal waters by longline fishing are sold at auctions here. Then we'll take the train to Ise Shima. Take in the great view of the Ago bay at the Shima Yokoyama Observation Deck before we head to our hotel.

The Shima Peninsula is home to Japan's most sacred Shinto shrines, the Ise Shrines, and is a popular leisure resort area among the urban population of Nagoya and Osaka.
Included Activities
  • Katsuura - Fish Market
  • Ise Ishima - Shima Yokoyama Observation Deck
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Set off to the sea today. We'll take our kayaks and kayak along the beautiful Ago Bay. Paddle towards an uninhabited island, and then move on to the inhabited island of Masakijima where we can disembark, go for swimming or wander on the island.
Included Activities
  • Ise Shima - Ago Bay Kayaking
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, explore the island intricate coastline with the sea cliffs and coastal caves on a bike.

Hop back on the train and return to Osaka. Enjoy some free time in the city, maybe do some last minute shopping or visit Osaka Castle.
Included Activities
  • Ise Shima - cycling
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Our tour comes to an end today. There are no activity planned. You may depart your accommodation at any time of the day.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 lunch

Transport

Public Bus, Metro, Bullet Train, Train, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel/Ryokan (11 nights)

Included activities

  • Tsumago - Waki Honjin
  • Nakasendo Trail - Tsumago to Magome hiking
  • Nakasendo Trail - Magome to Nakatsugawa hiking
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Kyoto - Kyoto Cycling
  • Kyoto - Tofuku-ji Temple
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple
  • Kyoto - Ginkakuji Temple
  • Shingu - Shingu Shrine
  • Shingu - Kamikura Shrine
  • Kumano Kudo - hiking
  • Kumano Kodo - Kumano Nachi Taisha
  • Katsuura - Fish Market
  • Ise Ishima - Shima Yokoyama Observation Deck
  • Ise Shima - Ago Bay Kayaking
  • Ise Shima - cycling

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. We sample some of the nicest part of the Nakasendo trail and the Kumano Kodo, but not the full length of each trail trekking.
2. We will forward your luggage to the next destination at different points of the trip, but you'll still need to be prepared to carry a day pack or a overnight pack while trekking. All travellers must have a reasonable level of fitness for this trip. You will be required to carry your own bag and move quickly at train stations.
3. With the low unemployment rate in Japan, your tour leader may either be a local Japanese or a foreign long term resident in Japan.

Start and finish time:

Your trip starts at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activity planned on the final day. You may depart from your accommodation at any time of the day.

Itinerary:

There's not a lot of time included in Tokyo and Osaka. We highly recommend you to plan extra time in both cities. Please consult your booking agent to book additional accommodation if you plan so.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.