Japan: Koya-san & Kumano Kodo Trek

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

4.9 out of 5 based on 7 reviews submitted.
Walking & Trekking
USD $4,050
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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.

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 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250cm may require an additional 1000 JPY oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is over 160-250cm 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 7 reviews submitted.
While we try our best to display all reviews, removal may be due to the following: privacy concerns, profanity/inappropriate content or it is unrelated to this trip. We welcome honest feedback and will directly respond to negative reviews.

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Anne · Traveled June 2023
Fantastic trip and value for money. Awesome leader. Would recommend to anyone who has a good level of fitness.
Review submitted 25 Jun 2023

Marcela · Traveled June 2023
Had a great time during our Japan trip. Well organized, our guide Ken was fantastic. Very knowledgeable and funny. Itinerary and accommodation were as expected so all group had a great time. We were very lucky to have a fabulous group of people of very varied ages (and the 'oldies' proved to be as fit or even fitter than some of the 'youngsters' which was great to see). Would definitely travel with Intrepid again. Thanks for amazing holidays.
Review submitted 01 Jul 2023

Megan · Traveled June 2023
This was a wonderful trip. I would highly recommend. For me personally a good mix of sightseeing and trekking. The big trail day was an awesome challenge if your looking for that achievement satisfaction on your trip. Amazing tour leader Ken as well who really made the trip fun and comfortable. I loved getting to know that Japanese rail and public transport system too as it made the rest of my trip much easier.
Review submitted 01 Jul 2023

Julia · Traveled June 2023
Japan Koya-san and Kumano Kodo Trek did not disappoint. A diverse trip covering many temples and shrines, beautiful countryside, some steep uphill and uneven footage but fully guided by intrepid team and always felt safe and secure. Eating and Sleeping in a mix of local accommodation and hotels gives a great insight to the real Japan.
Review submitted 02 Jul 2023

ANDREW · Traveled May 2023
A fantastic tour with challenging hikes met with culturally rich Japanese experiences. The Ryokan and Temple stays were such a delight to have and there were aspects of language & culture that only our guide Kento could help us navigate. An forgettable trip!
Review submitted 17 May 2023
Japan: Koya-san & Kumano Kodo Trek
USD $4,050