Sacred Sites of Kii Peninsula, Comprehensive Tour  – 9 Day Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage

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  • Aichi / Wakayama
  • 9 Days, 8 night
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  • ★★☆☆☆

Sacred Sites of Kii Peninsula, Comprehensive Tour  – 9 Day Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage

9 Days

For family and for myself, The pilgrims walked the pilgrimage, facing themselves with various thoughts and feelings.

In modern times, transportation has developed and people’s interests have changed. The culture of walking pilgrimages is gone.

Pilgrims have ceased to exist.

Now, the Kumano Kodo has been revived, and it is possible to relive its pilgrims.

It is by no means a sightseeing trip.

It is a reliving of the pilgrimage culture that Japan has long fostered.


What‘s the Kumano Kodo

The Kumano Kodo is a 1,000 km long pilgrimage route that crosses over the Kii Peninsula. The route starts from Kyoto, Yoshino, Koyasan, and Ise, and leads all the way to Kumano Sanzan (The Three Grand Shrines of Kumano), which include Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine. Collectively, they are called the “Kumano Kodo” and divided into six different routes.

Japanese tourism developed out of these sorts of “pilgrimage” journeys. Furthermore, the Kumano Pilgrimage is said to be its origin.

Kumano, surrounded by mythical nature, is often called “the Land of the Dead”. It has been believed that going to and returning from Kumano means ”reborn”.

In the past, only the emperor’s family and nobles were allowed to visit Kumano. However, during the Edo period, under the principle of equality in front of the ”Kami” and Buddha, pilgrimages from Ise Jingu Shrine to the Kumano Sanzan spread to the common people, regardless of their social status.

In July 2004, this cultural landscape formed over long years by nature and human activity was registered as a World Heritage Site as “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.

Japan is blessed with nature, and it has long been believed that deities dwell within it. Seeking the echoes of the prayers of the ancient people who believed in a better next life, and attracted by its mystical power, people continue to visit Kumano even today.

Take a step as one of them along the Iseji, the most beautiful route of the Kumanoko Kodo.


What makes the Iseji special is that it connects two sanctuaries: Kumano Sanzan and Ise Jingu, the main shrine of Shintoism.

Starting from Ise Jingu Shrine, it is a 170 km southward journey between mountains and seas that you can traverse on foot or by public and private transportation.

The long, beautiful stone-paved ancient road still remains in its original form thanks to the local people who are working hard to preserve the old road. It is a path loved not only by hikers but also by the local communities.

To this day, many pilgrims have been helped by the local people along the way and have experienced the healing nature of the sea and mountains. They purify their bodies and souls, experiencing sacred moments while passing over many mountain passes on their journey to Kumano Sanzan.

On this journey, you will step into the hidden Japanese countryside and witness the true beauty of Japan, from the fishing towns and terraced rice paddies to the mountains and coastlines.

The ancient path is the axis that connects people to each other,and connect you to the local community of Japan.

It will also allow you to know your true inner self and discover a new you.


First, during the orientation, learn about the spiritual world of the Japanese and the features of the Kumano Kodo Iseji, and introduce the tour.Then, experience Ise Ondo, a traditional dance performance at old local accommodation in Ise that is said to have been sung and danced by pilgrims.


  • Making your own Pilgrimage Book (Goshuin Stamp Book)
  • Ise Ondo Experience

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Purify yourself at Futamigaura as people did in the Edo period (1603-1868), and then visit Ise Shrine, the most sacred shrine in Japan, and dedicate Kagura (Shinto music and dance) to deity.Then, head for Tamaru, the starting point of the Iseji.


  • Ise Jingu Kagura Hounou
  • Write your wishes on “Oizuru”(Your pilgrimage attire)

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Breakfast, Dinner

Temaru is said to be the starting point of Iseji, which was called the way of common people, and in the Edo period (1603-1868), people put on pilgrim costumes and headed for the Kumano Sanzan, which were sacred places.

First, visit the Ishibutsuan, which led many people to Kumano, and relive experiences of pilgrims in the Edo period who prayed to Kannon-sama for safety on the journey.

On the way, in Odai-cho town, where Ise tea is produced, experience the tea ceremony, the spiritual culture of Japan, and you will understand Japanese culture more deeply.

Meki-toge Pass

Distance : ~17km
Time : 4~5hr
Height : ~210m


  • Tea Ceremony Experience

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Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The pilgrims will see the majestic ocean down below for the first time while walking along the Okimidaira.

It is said that Yokai (Monster) is a form given to an invisible existence that exists in the depths of the heart. Listen to folk tales of heroes who exterminated kappa (water imps), legends of yokai, and ponder the old forms of prayer.


  • Watch a folk tale shadow show of a hero who exterminates Yokai (Monsters)

Nisaka-toge Pass Pass

Distance : ~10km
Time : 2.5~3.5hr
Height : ~70m

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Breakfast, Dinner

Magose-toge Pass is one of the most popular passes on the Iseji.

Heavy natural stone paved cobblestone continue to the pass and into the beautiful forest.

On the way, you will see the vast expanse of ocean, surrounded by beautiful mountains, and feel deities that exist in nature.

For dinner, enjoy Japanese food, chat with a Kodo guide, and feel the Japanese cozy atmosphere.


  • Experience Local Food (Owned by a Kumano Kodo Guide)

Magose-toge Pass Pass

Distance : ~10.8km
Time : 4~5hr
Height : ~365m

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Breakfast, Dinner

Learn about the folk belief of Koshinko, one of the traditional ways to keep people from doing evil and to be good.

The Yakiyama-toge Pass is one of the most difficult parts on the route.

The Yakiyama Kojindo Shrine shows the influence of the Shugendo and at this place, mix of various prayers, and will experience the Japanese prayer.


  • “Koshinko” (Folk Religion)

Yakiyama-toge Pass

Distance : ~13.5km
Time : 5.5~7hr
Height : 705m

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Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Matsumoto-toge Pass is one of the most popular passes, with beautiful cobblestone pavements and a panoramic view of Shichiri-Mihama Beach (the longest sand and gravel beach in Japan) from its observatory.

Then, visit Hanao Iwaya, which is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan and is mentioned in the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan).

Unlike other shrines, there is no hall of worship, and the deity is made of a 45m high rock, which will make you feel reverence for nature.

During the lunch break, have a “tangerine juice tasting” in Mihama town, famous as “the town where tangerines are harvested all year round.


  • Tangerine Juice Tasting

Matsumoto-toge Pass

Distance : ~10km
Time : 2.5~3.5hr
Height : 70m

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Breakfast, Dinner

In the 794-1333 periods, emperors who visited the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine descended the river by boat, and until the mid-1950s, boats were the main means of transportation, with boats crossing the river frequently.

However, as roads were improved and transportation by boat became obsolete, the riverboat culture discontinued.

But, craftsmen’s passionate desire to preserve the sandanbo for future generations has led to its revival. Enjoy the beauty of nature from the sea on an elaborate boat that has inherited the old wisdom.

After crossing the river with Sandanbo, visit Kumano Hayatama Taisha, one of the Kumano Sanzan, then visit Kamikura Shrine, which is said to be the birthplace of the Kumano faith where the deity descended.


  • Embark on a Traditional “Sandanbo” Sail Boat

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Breakfast, Dinner

After listening to the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala picture explanation, walk as if you were in the picture.

Visit Nachi Great Falls, which boasts the highest drop in Japan and has long been revered as the sacred body of Kumano Nachi-taisha Shrine, and feel the energy of nature from the spectacular falls.

After visiting Kumano Nachi-taisha Shrine, one of the Kumano Sanzan, the tour will end with a prayer at Seigantoji Temple, the starting point of the pilgrimage to the western part of Japan.


  • Traditional Prayer/Official Worship at the Seigantoji Temple
  • Explore the world of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and Seigantoji Temple

Distance : ~6.4km
Time : 2.5~3.0hr
Height : 390m

<Photo for illustrative purpose only>


This itinerary is subject to change

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From ¥650,000
/ Adult

  • Chubu
  • Chugoku
  • Kansai
  • Kanto
  • Kyushu
  • Tohoku
  • November, 2024
July 2024

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