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Journey to Japan’s Spiritual Roots

The ancient Kumano region is nestled in the verdant mountains of Wakayama Prefecture—the spiritual heartland of Japan. Worshipped for centuries, this lush and rugged area has been considered the abode of the gods.

Walk the spiritual Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, soak and relax in the healing waters of isolated onsen, dine on delicious local cuisine, interact with the friendly locals—what kind of adventures await you in this sacred land?

Kumano Kodo

熊野古道

For over 1000 years, people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the arduous pilgrimage to the sacred sites in Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of routes, now called the Kumano Kodo, which stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula, weaving its way through remote villages and forests on a mixture of well-trodden trails and ancient cobblestone paths.

News & Stories

Updates

Helping Develop Local Guides

The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau kicked off a first-of-its-kind Kumano International Professional Guide Training on October 26 and 27 in Tanabe to support the development of local English guides in the Kumano area.

Making use of the lull in tourism caused by the spread of the coronavirus, the bureau proactively developed this training program to help local guides focus on areas they wanted to improve but couldn’t in the past and to hone their current skills while they have time on their hands.

The Bureau believes better guides encourage deeper cultural understanding and make better experiences for guests.

The 6-month program consists of two days of training related to a separate theme each month. The day in-seminar includes discussions, exchanges, and presentations followed by a firsthand experiential onsite training on the Kumano Kodo the next day.
In October, participants met at the community meeting space "tanabe en+" in front of Kii-Tanabe Station. The following day, they visited Tanabe sightseeing points such as Tokei-jinja Shrine, an area accommodation/cafe, memorial centers for Tanabe famous figures, while practicing skills they discussed previously in the seminar.

Participants are welcome to pick and choose which months they wish to join, but those attending all 6 sessions will receive a completion certificate.

Themes include “What kind of guide do you want to become?” “Storytelling” “Leadership Skills” “Safety” “Who is your guest?” “Professionalism, Tours”

The training continues this month on Friday and Saturday, November 26 & 27.

Registration and other information about the Kumano International Professional Guide Training.



TIMED ROAD CLOSURE (Kohechi)

National Highway 425 between Miura-guchi and Totsukawa Onsen will have timed road closures between October 12, 2021, and March 9, 2022, just south of Nishinaka bus stop. The Kumano Kodo Kohechi route between Miura-guchi and Totsukawa Onsen joins Highway 425 just north of the Nishinaka bus stop. (See KUMANO KODO KOHECHI Pilgrimage Route Map, p. 13)

Timed Closure Period: October 12, 2021 (Tuesday) to March 9, 2022 (Wednesday)
* Excluding Sundays and public holidays

Times the road is OPEN:
Until 8: 30
9: 50 to 10: 20
11: 50 to 12: 50
13: 50 to 14: 35
After 16: 30
For more detailed information: Totsukawa Village website

OBAKO-TOGE PASS DETOUR RE-OPENS (Kohechi)
The section of the Kumano Kodo Kohechi between Obake-toge Pass and Uenishi Remains has been re-opened as of September 30, 2021.

SHIOMI-TOGE PASS RE-OPENS (Tanabe City)
The trail near Shiomi-toge Pass on the Kumano Kodo Nagao-zaka Route between Nejiki-no-sugi and Shiomi-toge Pass has reopened as of October 1, 2021.
The Kumano Kodo stamp for Shiomi-toge is at the top of the pass next to the toilets.

For more information regarding Detours and Closures and other Kumano Kodo Tips & Safety information.

OBAKO-TOGE PASS DETOUR (Kohechi)
Due to landslides caused by recent heavy rainstorms, a detour has been put in place as of May 28, 2021, until further notice near the Obako-toge Pass on the Kumano Kodo Kohechi Route between Obako-toge Pass and Uenishi Residence remains. Obako-toge Pass is located between the settlements of Omata and Miura-guchi.

SHIOMI-TOGE PASS CLOSURE (Tanabe City)
As of June 2, 2021, a landslide has closed the trail until further notice near Shiomi-toge Pass on the Kumano Kodo Nagao-zaka Route between Nejiki-no-sugi and Shiomi-toge Pass. The Kumano Kodo stamp for Shiomi-toge Pass has been temporarily moved to the KUMANO KODO KAN Pilgrimage Centerat Takijiri-oji.

For more information regarding Detours and Closures and other Kumano Kodo Tips & Safety information.

Articles

Getting Started

KUMANO KODO
MAPS

Detailed pilgrimage route maps.

BUS
TIMETABLES

Local bus access information.

MODEL ITINERARIES

Sample trips for inspiration.

HOW-TO
VIDEOS

Short, fun and informational videos.

ARE YOU A DUAL
PILGRIM?

Way of St.James & the Kumano Kodo.

RESTAURANT
GUIDE

Find a place to dine on local cuisine.

OFFICIAL GUIDE
BOOK

A popular reference and souvenir book.

LUGGAGE SHUTTLE
& STORAGE

Baggage logistics during your trip.

Reservations

KUMANO TRAVEL

Official Community Reservation System

KUMANO TRAVEL is the official community reservation system for the region, an international award-winning new model of grassroots tourism development. By making reservations locally with KUMANO TRAVEL you are directly supporting our community.

Over 1000 Years’ Experience, Quality Personal Service, Intimate Knowledge, Locally Owned & Operated, Travelers’ Safety Net, Responsible & Sustainable, Freedom to Discover, Secure Booking, Onsite Travel Support Center…

One of the most progressive tourism outfits in all Japan. [Lonely Planet]

KUMANO TRAVEL Kumano Kodo accommodations reservations
Accommodations
The KUMANO TRAVEL  official community reservation system has a diversity of Tours and Activities available for online booking.   Travel responsible, Book local!
Tours & Activities
Kumano Kodo Luggage Shuttle
Travel Services
Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route Nakahechi
Model Itineraries

Amazing resource of information! We couldn’t have planned the trip without it. [Guest]

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