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Difficulty Rating

Introduction

There are many walking possibilities with a variety of difficulty, from short leisurely walks to multi-day treks in the Kii-Hanto peninsula, including the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route network.

Difficulty ratings are subjective estimates based on a set of criteria. These are meant to be a general rating to give visitors an idea of the amount of effort it takes to walk certain sections of trail.Please be aware that ratings are not static, but change depending on many variables.

Please review information relating to the various routes to match your experience and needs to make the most of your walk. Preparation is important so please plan ahead and bring proper equipment, including walking shoes/boots and rain gear.

If you need more help deciding which section of the Kumano Kodo to walk, please visit the Kumano Kodo route guides, suggested walks page or contact us anytime.

Difficulty Ratings Criteria

Difficulty ratings are calculated with the combination of the following 6 criteria:

  • Distance
  • Time
  • Elevation gain and descent
  • Type of terrain e.g. mountain trail or paved road
  • Accessibility e.g. public bus routes
  • Isolation e.g. if there are people nearby

The range from 1 to 5 is as follows:

Difficult Ranking 1:

  • Short distance
  • Minimal time to walk
  • Minimal elevation gain and descent
  • Easy terrain e.g. pavement or well maintained trail
  • Very accessible e.g. bus stops are nearby
  • Settled area e.g. people live along the trail or nearby

※ These walks are appropriate for the casual walker.

Difficult Ranking 5:

  • Long distance
  • Full day walk
  • Steep elevation gain and descent
  • Difficult terrain eg. roots, steep uneven staircases, etc.
  • Limited accessibility
  • Remote are

※ These walks are appropriate for the prepared, experienced walker in good physical condition.

Note: This does not mean that all routes that are ranked 5 have no bus access, etc. Other criteria may play a more important role in ranking.

Difficulty Ratings Variables

There are many variables that can dynamically change the difficulty of the route including;

  • Weather
  • Time of day
  • Time of year
  • Direction routes are walked
  • Amount of luggage being carried
  • Physical condition and experience of walker

For example, if it is raining very hard, you are carrying a large backpack, and fatigued, a 3 ranked course can easily become a difficulty of 5.

Nakahechi Route Difficulty Ratings (Kumano Kodo)

SectionDistanceTimeDifficulty 
Rating
Takijiri-oji ~ Tsugizakura-oji~17 km~6 hr4
– Takijiri~Takahara3.7 km~2 hr2.5
– Takahara~Gyuba-doji Guchi8 km~3 hr3
– Gyuba-doji Guchi~Chikatsuyu-oji1.3 km~30 min1
– Chikatsuyu-oji~ Tsugizakura-oji4 km~1 hr 15 min1.5
Tsugizakura-oji~ Kumano Hongu Taisha21 km~6.5 hr4
– Tsugizakura-oji~Hosshinmon-oji14 km~4.5 hr3
– Hosshinmon-oji~Kumano Hongu Taisha7 km~2 hr2
Akagi-goe~6 km~2 hr2
Dainichi-goe~3.5 km~1 hr 15 min2
Ogumotori-goe~14.5 km~5.5 hr5
Kogumotori-goe~13 km~4.5 hr4
Daimon-zaka~1 km~30 min1.5

※Walking times do not include breaks and are based on the abilities of a healthy walker, without a pack, in good weather. Please plan accordingly.

Kohechi Route Difficulty Ratings (Kumano Kodo)

SectionDistanceTimeDifficulty 
Rating
Koyasan~Omata~17 km~6.5 hr4.5
Omata~Miura-guchi~19 km~8 hr5
Miura-guchi~Totsukawa~20 km~7.5 hr4.5
Totsukawa~ Kumano Hongu Taisha~15 km~7.5 hr4.5
– Totsukawa~Yagio~10.5 km~5.5 hr4
– Yagio~Kumano Hongu Taisha~4.5 km~2 hr1.5

※Walking times do not include breaks and are based on the abilities of a healthy walker, without a pack, in good weather. Please plan accordingly.

Other Trails Difficulty Ratings

SectionDistanceTimeDifficulty 
Rating
Amida-ji Temple & Mount Myohozan~5 km~2.5 hr2

※Walking times do not include breaks and are based on the abilities of a healthy walker, without a pack, in good weather. Please plan accordingly.

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