Kyoto-based tour operator Oku Japan has launched a premium, upgraded version of its classic, self-guided Kumano Kodo trek, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 5-day trip along the Kumano Kodo offers travelers the opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese pilgrimage walk — a spiritual adventure that explores Grand Shrines, historic villages and the ancient, forested mountains of Japan’s Kii Peninsula — in high-end comfort and style.
The new premium itinerary includes a stay at the freshly-refurbished Fujiya Ryokan, which features five Onsen (hot spring-fed) baths and traditional tatami mat rooms with their own private, outdoor baths. Located in the village of Kawayu, Fujiya Ryokan is situated alongside Sennin-buro, a famous open-air river bath that invites visitors to dig their own hot spring Onsen. The high-end upgrade also boasts a night on a private island at Kumano-Bettei Nakanoshima, a modern, boutique retreat with sea-view rooms that include open-air, private baths and a chef-designed culinary menu that celebrates locally-caught seafood.
Hike the Yagyu Kaido trail, tracing the footsteps of warriors who walked this route to a historic sword-making village, and take in the scenic seaside on a train ride from Nara to Kii-Tanabe. Follow the pilgrimage trail from Chikatsuyu through small villages and forest trails over the sacred Kii Mountains to the Kumano shrine at Hongu, one of the three ‘Grand Shrines of Kumano’. Later, journey to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot-spring villages in Japan, and on to the port town of Kii-Katsuura with its island-studded bay and lively, early-morning fish market.
Guests will enjoy daily luggage transfers, most dinners and breakfasts, round-trip train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka, detailed daily itineraries and walking directions, and local support from Oku’s branch along the Kumano Kodo in Chikatsuyu.
5 -days; Priced from $2,370 per person. For more information, visit okujapan.com