Japan: Koya-san & Kumano Kodo Trek

8 Days | Trek ancient trails in the tranquil countryside of Japan.

4.9 out of 5 based on 14 reviews submitted.
Walking & Trekking
EUR €2,720
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Stray off the tourist trail with an eight-day trekking adventure on some of the ancient pilgrim routes in Japan. The Koya-san and Kumano Kodo treks take you deep through the wilderness and into the mountainous landscapes of Honshu, as well as provide insight into the strong connection with past and present pilgrims hiking these historic routes. Along the way, stop by peaceful temples and tranquil monasteries, soak in traditional onsen and discover the cultural hubs of Kyoto and Osaka. This small-group adventure will give you both a physical and cultural workout around the best of enchanting Japan.

Trip overview

Map of Japan: Koya-San & Kumano Kodo Trek including Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Osaka, Japan
Walking & Trekking
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
This trip generates 32.1 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Explore Kyoto on a couple of nearby hikes for a different perspective on the life and culture in this notable city, as well as visiting some sites of natural and religious significance.
  • Experience two of the main religions in Japan – Buddhism and Shintoism – by following the footsteps of ancient pilgrims on their quest for faith along the Koya-san and Kumano Kodo trails.
  • Discover two of the major cultural hubs of Japan on foot, walking the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto and strolling through the Dotombori district in Osaka.
  • Join in on the morning prayers and share a traditional shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian) meal during an overnight temple stay in Koya-san, deep in mountainous Wakayama prefecture.
  • Soak in an ancient onsen after a day of trekking in Yunomine – there's no better way in Japan to relax and rejuvenate, as well as understand local cultures, than in the natural mineral waters of a hot spring.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Is this trip right for you?
  • The active nature of this trip means that the fitter you are, the more you will be able to enjoy it. It is expected that travellers joining this trip will have had some experience hiking before joining this tour. On some hikes you will need to be able to carry your overnight pack on the trail because we will forward your luggage to the next destination. Hiking distances vary from 3-15km per day with no more elevation change than 60-900m on one hike.
  • The hikes on the Koya-san trail and Kumano Kodo include sections rather than the whole trail, which gives you an experience of the trails without needing to commit to multiple days of strenuous trek-king.
  • In some destinations you may be staying in a ryokan – which is a Japanese-style inn with shared facilities. It’s a great taste of tradition, but not everyone finds futon mattresses on tatami mat flooring, small bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more Western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in our ‘Accommodation’ section of the Essential Trip Information.


Map of Japan: Koya-San & Kumano Kodo Trek including Japan



6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners


Train, Private vechicle, Taxi


Hotel (3 nights), Ryokan (1 night), Guesthouse/Ryokan (2 night), Temple Stay (1 night)

  • Kyoto - Shimogamo Shrine
  • Kyoto - Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-Michi)
  • Kyoto - Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
  • Kyoto - Mt. Daimonji-yama hike
  • Koya-san - Koya-san Choishi Michi trail
  • Koya-san - Okuno-in Mausoleum
  • Kumano Kodo - Kumano Hongū Taisha
  • Kumano Kudo - Hiking
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour
  • Kii Katsuura - Tuna Market

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. As this is an active hiking trip you will need to have an excellent level of fitness. Please read the itinerary carefully to make sure that you'll be able to make the most of the activities on this trip and enjoy an active adventure in Japan.
2. Your luggage will be forwarded to the next destination at different points of the trip, but you'll still need to be able carry a small day pack during the hiking.
3. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
4. We are currently unable to book pre or post tour accommodation at our start & finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through an online booking engine if you are planning to stay longer in Japan.
5. This trip does not include a Japan Rail Pass. If you are planning to travel in Japan before or after your trip you will need to purchase your own Japan Rail Pass in advance or individual tickets in country.
6. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. From May 2020 size restrictions were implemented for luggage transportation on Japan trains. You will be allowed up to two pieces of portable luggage, the total length, width and height of which must not exceed 250 centimetres. (up to 2 meters in length) and 30 kilograms in weight. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is the size limits mentioned above, so they can make the necessary arrangements.

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.

Read Essential Trip Information


4.9 out of 5 based on 14 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Caitlin · Traveled October 2023
Great trip. Hiking was beautiful especially in the rain. Ken our leader was great. The traditional accommodation and food was so good - so lucky to have experienced it all.
Review submitted 18 Oct 2023

Ashley · Traveled October 2023
The description doesn't do the trip justice. Had such a great time staying in more traditional style inns. We would come back from a day of walking to a hot public bath, matching robes, and amazing meals. I was thoroughly filled with happiness everyday. It was like a wellness retreat. Ken did a great job taking care of us and making sure we were all accounted for on public transportation. Definitely recommend.
Review submitted 19 Oct 2023

Rose · Traveled September 2023
Excellent immersion in the religion, culture, food and remote location of Koyasan and the Komoda Koda. Prepare for a 3 hour, 850 meter elevation change on the toughest hike. Challenging but gratifying when completed. Ken, our tour guide was nothing short of fabulous.
Review submitted 01 Oct 2023

Patrick · Traveled September 2023
I had a fantastic time on our tour of the Koya-San and Kumano Kodo. Some challenging hikes, amazing scenery and really interesting places to stay. And all with the wonderful Ken who was a brilliant guide and took so much trouble to make it all go so smoothly. Would highly recommend!
Review submitted 01 Oct 2023

david · Traveled September 2023
the trip was quite challenging with kento always available to encourage and or assist with any requirements
Review submitted 21 Sep 2023
Japan: Koya-san & Kumano Kodo Trek
EUR €2,720