Sacred Sites of Kii Peninsula, Selected Highlights – 4 Day Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage 

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  • Aichi / Wakayama
  • 4 Days, 3 night
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Sacred Sites of Kii Peninsula, Selected Highlights – 4 Day Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage 

4 Days

For their family and for themselves, pilgrims walked the ancient road, Facing their various thoughts and feelings.

In modern times, faced with the development of transportation and change in people’s interest, the tradition of walking pilgrimages waned.

Pilgrims practically ceased to exist. Now, with the revival of the Kumano Kodo, this tradition can be relived.

It is by no means just a sightseeing trip. It is a reliving of a pilgrimage culture that Japan has long fostered since ancient times.


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.

This is an ancient path that connects people with each other and connects you with the local communities It will allow you to discover your true inner self and as a result, a new you. Nature Worship


Visit Ise Jingu Shrine, considered the most sacred shrine in Japan.

At Ise Jingu, purify your mind and give thanks to the deities to experience Japanese culture, traditions, and faith. After spending quiet time in this special place, the trip finally begins.

You will dance the “Ise Ondo” together with the locals and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Ise while experiencing their warmth.

It will be a special moment, allowing you to relive and contemplate upon the past.

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“Magose-toge Pass”, with its beautiful moss-covered cobblestone pavements and emotional atmosphere, is one of the most popular passes on the Iseji route.

Along the way, you will see a vast expanse of ocean and be surrounded by beautiful mountains, allowing you to feel the presence of the deities that exist within nature.

At Owase Shrine, you will have a “Kito experience” (prayer experience), through which you’ll thank the deities for their blessings and contemplate on your own thoughts and feelings.

Magose-toge Pass

Distance : 4.8km
Time:2~3 hr
Height : 325 m

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Breakfast, Dinner

After passing through “Matsumoto-toge Pass”, where beautiful stone pavements surrounded by bamboo groves remain, visit “Hana-no-Iwaya Shrine”, said to be the oldest shrine in Japan.

Unlike other shrines, “Hana-no-Iwaya Shrine” has no hall of worship, and its sacred body is made of a 45-meter-high rock, which you’ll feel the true embodiment of nature worship present in current day Kumano.

After visiting the “Kumano Hayatama-taisha Shrine”, one of the Kumano Sanzan, ascend 538 stone steps to reach Kamikura Shrine, said to be the birthplace of the Kumano faith and located on a steep cliff.

According to ancient legends, the deities descended here.You’ll discover why this place came to be known as the sacred site of “The Land of the Dead.”

Matsumoto-toge Pass

Distance : 2.9km
Time:1~1.5 hr
Height : 135m

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Breakfast, Dinner

Feel the energy of nature at ”Nachi Great Falls””, a waterfall boasting the highest drop in Japan and long revered as the sacred body of the “Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine”.

Afterwards, visit “Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine”, one of the Kumano Sanzan, and pray at “Seigantoji Temple”, the starting point of the pilgrimage to the West, the tour came to the end.

During this tour, as you immerse yourself in the spiritual culture of the Kumano, beginning with Ise Shinto, you will gradually discover your true self, and take a strong new step towards the future.

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This itinerary is subject to change

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From ¥400,000
/ Adult

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

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