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Walking Kumano Kodo and No Availability in Smaller Communities: What to do!

Kumano Kodo
Hints & Tips 1/30/2023

The Kumano Kodo is an ancient trail that runs through the mountains of the Kii peninsula passing through small villages and hot springs. These isolated settlements are limited in capacity and often fully booked during peak spring and fall seasons, especially Takahara and often Chikatsuyu/Nonaka and Koguchi.

But there are ways that you can still experience the walk by slightly adjusting the itinerary including these two tips:

  • Using public buses to/from trailheads.
  • Staying on the coast in Tanabe and Katsuura where there is more capacity. And Kawayu Onsen in Hongu where there is more capacity.

The KUMANO TRAVEL Community Reservation System is like a shopping cart, so you can add each accommodation and service to your Cart and then make a reservation request. Here is how to book. So you can modify and create your own model itinerary which suits your needs.

Sample Modified Kumano Kodo Trek

The following is a sample trek from Takijiri-oji to Kumano Nachi Taisha based on the above two tips. Use some of these ideas to modify your itinerary of some or all of the smaller settlements that are fully booked.


● Take train to Kii-Tanabe station and stay overnight


Luggage shuttle from Tanabe to Hongu accommodation
Bus: 8:02 Kii-Tanabe to 8:40 Takijiri-oji
Walk Takijiri-oji to Chikatsuyu-oji
Bus: 16:04 Chikatsuyu-oji to 16:48 Kawayu Onsen
● Overnight in Kawayu Onsen (3 nights)


Bus: 8:15 Kawayu Onsen to 8:48 Doyukawa-bashi
Walk Doyukawa-bashi to Kumano Hongu Taisha
Doyukawa-bashi is the start for the intermediate walk to Hongu.
Bus: Hongu Taisha-mae (depending on the day of the week, either 16:23 or 16:48) around 10 to 15 minute bus ride to Kawayu Onsen.
● Overnight Kawayu Onsen

DAY 3 Optional Hongu Loop Walk

Instead of heading all the way back to the Tsugizakura-oji area walking the Hongu Loop section (part/or all) is a good option.

Bus: 8:15 Kawayu Onsen to 8:29 Yunomine Onsen
Walk Akagi-goe route to Hosshinmon-oji
Walk Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha (then bus to Kawayu Onsen, to shorten the loop)
Walk Dainichi-goe back to Yunomine Onsen (then bus to Kawayu Onsen, to complete the loop)


Bus: 6:59 Kawayu Onsen to 7:23 Kanmaru
Bus: 7:54 Kanmaru to 8:04 Kowaze
The bus transfer is easy, just talk to the bus driver and tell him where you want to go.
Kowaze is the stop for the Kogumotori-goe section.

There are also taxi plans available. Must be booked in advance.
Walk Kogmotori-goe section north back to Ukegawa and the short walk back to Kawayu Onsen
● Overnight Kawayu Onsen


Luggage shuttle from Kawayu Onsen to Katsuura
Bus: 6:59 Kawayu Onsen to 7:23 Kanmaru
Bus: 7:54 Kanmaru to 8:06 Koguchi
Same busses as above.
Koguchi is the closest bus stop to the Ogumotori-goe.

Walk Ogumotori-goe south to Kumano Nachi Taisha
Bus: 17:02 Nachi-no-Taki-mae to 17:28 Kii-Katsuura station
● Overnight in Katsuura


● Take train to next destination
If you have time in the morning, you can take a train to Shingu just up the coast to visit the third grand shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha which is located in Shingu city.

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