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Stamps on the Kumano Kodo

Hints & Tips 3/8/2024

Collecting stamps along the Kumano Kodo can be fun and provides a printed commemorative reminder of where you visited on this World Heritage trail. While official stamp booklets or credentials are available, stamps for the Kumano Kodo can be collected in anything (a journal, the back of a sheet of paper, etc.). Following basic stamp etiquette can make this experience more enjoyable for everyone.

There are multiple stamp campaigns which will be outlined below, specifically the difference between the DUAL PILGRIM initiative and the Wakayama Prefecture Kumano Kodo program.


Stamps Along the Trail

Typically, the stamps are housed in little shrine-shaped wooden structures about waist-high. There should be a stamp and stamp pad inside.

Stamps are located at some oji subsidiary shrines and main sites. Stamps at sacred sites sometimes change locations.

Sometimes, the stamp pads may run out of ink during peak season. For guests bringing their own stamp pads, be sure to use the proper color ink for the stamp.
Stamps for the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi route use red ink. Koyasan, most Kohechi, Totsukawa area, and Ohechi stamps are black.

Practice good stamp etiquette by replacing the stamp and stamp pad back in its wooden housing to protect it from the elements and to keep the stamp pad from drying out.

Stamp Collecting Etiquette

The original purpose of the stamps was to help create memories for those who actually visited the Kumano Kodo area and walked the trails themselves.

All of the municipalities, citizens, community members thank those full-heartedly who intend to walk the traditional Kumano Kodo route, stay in traditional inns, and collect stamps for their personal journey as World Heritage experience, and NOT just as a tourist stamp rally.

Kumano Kodo World Heritage 20th Anniversary

20th Anniversary Completion Stamp

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the World Heritage designation for the Kumano Kodo, Kumano Hongu Taisha has prepared a special stamp to be collected on the grounds of the Grand Shrine in addition to the regular completion stamp.

This stamp goes into the Dual Pilgrim credential, either in the space reserved for the regular Kumano Hongu Taisha stamp, or elsewhere in the stamp credential.

It is not considered a memorial stamp and is offered only to those who have completed the Kumano Kodo section.

Please ask at the head office at the shrine located at the top of the stairs.

20th Anniversary Commemorative Stamps

Any visitor however can collect other 20th Anniversary stamps, both in English and Japanese, small and large, located just outside the main shrine office.

Campaigns and Related Stamp Booklets


By far the most popular for inbound guests is the DUAL PILGRIM initiative.

A “DUAL PILGRIM” is someone who has walked both the Kumano Kodo and the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago).

This program was developed to celebrate, honor, and share the stories of those who have completed both of these UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage routes and began on Feb 1, 2015.

DUAL PILGRIM stamp booklets are free and can be picked up at the TANABE Tourist Information Center and at any number of other centers and accommodations throughout the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi area.

There is no certificate for completing just the Kumano Kodo section of this program.

Wakayama Prefecture Kumano Kodo Stamp Booklets

Wakayama Prefecture oversees another stamp program for the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi, Koya Nana Guchi, Kiiji, and Ohechi routes.

This program was originally developed by Tanabe City and related tourist associations for the Nakahechi (often called the Imperial) route with the other Kumano Kodo sections added in 2022 by the Wakayama prefecture government.

This Wakayama Prefecture Kumano Kodo stamp campaigns are different from the Dual Pilgrim program, although they share many of the same stamps.

Please contact the Wakayama prefecture directly for more information:

Wakayama Prefectural Government
Tourism Exchange Division, World Heritage Promotion
Address: 1-1 Komatsubara-dori, Wakayama City, Wakayama 640-8585
Tel: +81 (0)73-441-2424
Fax: +81 (0)73-427-1523
Website: (Japanese language only)

Stamp Booklets

The Wakayama Prefecture-managed Nakahechi stamp booklet includes pages for 41 stamps — more stamps than are required for the completion of the Dual Pilgrim campaign.

These stamp booklets are only in Japanese and cost 100 yen each.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of these additional stamps, while related to the Kumano Kodo, are not easy to get to and maps in English to these locations are not readily available.

Where to Buy the Stamp Book

Stamp booklets can be purchased for 100 yen at these locations and at some rest areas and accommodations:

TANABE Tourist Information Center
1-20 Minato, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama-ken 646-0031
TEL: 0739-34-5599

KUMANO KODO KAN Pilgrimage Center
1222-1 Nakahechicho Kurisugawa, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama-ken 646-1421
TEL: 0739-64-1470
Nakahechi Tourist Association

Kumano Hongu Heritage Center
100-1 Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama-ken
TEL: 0735-42-0735
Kumano Hongu Tourist Association

Shingu Tourist Information Center
2-1-11 Jofuku, Shingu-shi, Wakayama-Ken
TEL: 0735-22-2840
Shingu City Tourist Association

Nachi-Katsuura Tourism Information Center
6-1-4 Tsukiji, Nachi-Katsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5335
TEL: 0735-52-5311
Nachi Katsuura Tourism Organization

How to Collect Certificates for Completion through Wakayama Prefecture

1. Participants who have collected all the stamps in any of the books should fill out the form in the back on the page marked “応募申込書.”

2. Send directly to the Wakayama Prefecture Tourism Exchange Division for verification.

〒640-8585 JAPAN
Wakayama-kencho Shoko Kanko Rodo-bu
Kanko Shinkoka Sekaiisan-han

〒640-8585 和歌山県庁 商工観光労働部 観光振興課 世界遺産班

3. Once verified, the prefecture will mail a completion certificate and the stamp booklet back. These can even be sent overseas.

While there are pages in the back of the book where participants can collect verification for certain stages of the trail at respective tourist information centers, this is not a necessary step and the booklet can be sent without them directly to the prefecture.

For questions and more information, please visit the Wakayama Prefectural website.


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