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Guided Walking : Asia & South Pacific

Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo

Easy to Moderate Terrain: 2-8 Miles Daily

Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo

Japan is a beguiling country of serene cedar groves scattered with kami shrines, intricate ceremonies performed in rural teahouses, and glittering neon nightscapes thrumming with 22nd-century energy. In the company of our local guides, you’ll experience a perspective few Westerners are privileged to know. Hiking through the whispering cypress forests of the Kii Peninsula or enjoying a quiet moment in Todai-ji Temple, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in this ancient and sophisticated culture. From the central courtyard of Nijo Castle, soak up the palace’s shogun splendor—a regal complex of moats, stone walls, and lush gardens. Your traditional ryokan lodgings reflect an earlier, contemplative way of life, with tatami floors and hot-spring baths. The ancient pilgrimage route of Kumano Kodo—a UNESCO World Heritage site—offers miles of forests dotted with stone bodhisattva statues and ancient cha-ya teahouses. It’s the ideal way to experience the Land of the Rising Sun, and is the adventure of a lifetime.


Tour Highlights:
  • During a serene temple visit, meet a yamabushi priest and learn the tenets of his often-misunderstood Shugendō sect, which mixes martial-arts training with rigorous feats of strength.
  • Gain an appreciation for the strict training undertaken by geishas when you head to Kyoto’s Gion district for a formal dinner hosted by one.
  • Wander the crowded stalls of Nishiki Market in the heart of Kyoto, the perfect opportunity to sample a broad range of Japanese snacks.
Flight + Tour Combo

10 days, 9 nights

FROM $8,198 USD

per person, double occupancy

Tour extensions available
Tokyo
2 nights $898*

Tour Only

8 days, 7 nights

FROM $6,998 USD

per person, double occupancy



Request Reservation Online Contact Us

OR Call to Book 800.234.6900

Why Walk With Us

  • Trust our expertise with 38+ years in active travel.
  • Immersive experiences with our local guides.
  • Virtually everything is included, even beer and wine with dinner.
  • Your departure is always guaranteed.
  • We take care of our solo travelers.
  • Past guests and referrals always save.

Itinerary & Accommodations

View the Tour Only Itinerary Open
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Day 1

Kyoto: Nijo Castle, Kiyomizu Temple, Gion District;

Your guide(s) will meet you at the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

Discover the stunning gardens, temples, palaces, and traditional neighborhoods of Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital for more than 1,000 years. Later, enjoy a celebratory dinner hosted by a geisha and her apprentice.

Accommodation: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto

A combination of serenity and natural beauty, the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel is a flawless expression of modern Japanese aesthetics. Guest rooms feature every amenity and comfort, while the public areas include three outstanding restaurants featuring fresh local delicacies, a fitness facility, and a terrace with a lovely waterfall. The hotel is ideally located a short walk from one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Nishi-Hoganji Temple, and a major train station.

Day 2

Kyoto: Philosopher’s Path, Nanzen-ji Temple, Nishiki Market

This morning, stroll along the tranquil, cherry-tree-lined “Philosopher’s Path.” Then, visit the 13th-century Nanzen-ji Temple, walk through the Nishiki Market, and participate in a traditional tea ceremony at the historic Bikoen Tea Shop.

Accommodation: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto

A combination of serenity and natural beauty, the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel is a flawless expression of modern Japanese aesthetics. Guest rooms feature every amenity and comfort, while the public areas include three outstanding restaurants featuring fresh local delicacies, a fitness facility, and a terrace with a lovely waterfall. The hotel is ideally located a short walk from one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Nishi-Hoganji Temple, and a major train station.

Day 3

Nara: Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Shrine, Nara Park

Transfer to the former imperial capital of Nara, which boasts an astounding eight sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. See the world’s largest bronze Buddha at Todai-ji Temple, and share the trail with sacred deer in Nara’s famous park.

Accommodation: Nara Hotel, Nara

This grand historical hotel, built in 1909 during Japan’s Meiji era, has retained its Old World elegance and sophistication in its original main building. A true fusion of European and Japanese décor, guest rooms combine both traditions in design and comfort. Surrounded by manicured grounds and gardens that are contiguous with Nara’s park-like setting, the hotel offers on-site dining that includes a signature French restaurant, a traditional Japanese restaurant, a lovely tea lounge, and a wood-paneled classic bar.

Day 4

Kii Peninsula and the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route

Head for the verdant slopes, lush valleys, and rushing streams of the Kii Peninsula, where you follow in the footsteps of Kyoto’s 11th-century emperors along the revered Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. Tonight, enjoy hot-spring baths and unsurpassed views at your intimate inn.

Accommodation: Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara, Takahara

The Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara is situated directly on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking route at about 900 feet and thus has some of the best views in the Kumano region overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Simple and comfortable guestrooms have mountain views and are either Japanese-style with tatami-mat floors, futons, and low furniture or Western-style with twin beds. Traditional meals of local organic cuisine are served with multiple courses in the dining room overlooking mountains and terraced hillsides. A traditional onsite onsen bath is fed with hot-spring water.

Day 5

Chikatsuyu to Hongu Grand Shrine

Today’s walk leads to Hongu Grand Shrine, one of the Kumano Kodo’s three most important pilgrimage sites. Your route passes numerous ōji, small shrines where nobles would traditionally rest and compose poetry. At Hongu, meet a yamabushi (priest of the Shugendō faith).

Accommodation: Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara, Takahara

The Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara is situated directly on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking route at about 900 feet and thus has some of the best views in the Kumano region overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Simple and comfortable guestrooms have mountain views and are either Japanese-style with tatami-mat floors, futons, and low furniture or Western-style with twin beds. Traditional meals of local organic cuisine are served with multiple courses in the dining room overlooking mountains and terraced hillsides. A traditional onsite onsen bath is fed with hot-spring water.

Day 6

Boat ride on the Kumano River; Maruyama Senmaida rice fields

Enjoy a scenic float in a flat-bottomed boat along the sacred Kumano River, a pilgrimage route between the Hongu and Hayatama shrines. Later, wander through the terraced rice paddies of Maruyama Senmaida, and enjoy a picnic of rice balls, homemade pickles, and green tea.

Accommodation: Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara, Takahara

The Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara is situated directly on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking route at about 900 feet and thus has some of the best views in the Kumano region overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Simple and comfortable guestrooms have mountain views and are either Japanese-style with tatami-mat floors, futons, and low furniture or Western-style with twin beds. Traditional meals of local organic cuisine are served with multiple courses in the dining room overlooking mountains and terraced hillsides. A traditional onsite onsen bath is fed with hot-spring water.

Day 7

Mount Koya; Afternoon exploration of Osaka

This morning, stroll through the sprawling Mount Koya temple complex, center of Buddhism’s Shingon sect, with over 100 temples, a university, and a vast cemetery. Then, explore Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, before tonight’s farewell dinner.

Accommodation: Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel, Osaka

Every room at the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is spacious and elegantly designed with floor-to-ceiling views offering spectacular views of the city. Occupying the top floors of the 60-floor Abeno Harukas cultural complex, public spaces offer endless panoramas, such as the 57th floor restaurant highlighting Japanese and international cuisine with its 360 degree views and the open-air outdoor plaza atrium on the 58th floor.

Day 8

Your Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo tour concludes

The tour ends at breakfast and you may depart at your leisure with your guide’s assistance to the Kansai airport or Osaka train station.

View the Flight + Tour Combo Itinerary Close
Download Full Itinerary
Flight

Overnight Flight from USA to Osaka, Japan

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend the first night aloft.

Arrival

Arrive in Osaka, Japan

Upon arrival at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you as you exit the baggage-claim area. Please note that there may be up to a 45-minute wait if there are other guests arriving within the same time frame. A complimentary taxi transfer is provided to your hotel in Kyoto, approximately one hour and 30 minutes away. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

Accommodation: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto

A combination of serenity and natural beauty, the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel is a flawless expression of modern Japanese aesthetics. Guest rooms feature every amenity and comfort, while the public areas include three outstanding restaurants featuring fresh local delicacies, a fitness facility, and a terrace with a lovely waterfall. The hotel is ideally located a short walk from one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Nishi-Hoganji Temple, and a major train station.

Day 1

Join your Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo tour

Breakfast is included at your hotel.

Your guide(s) will meet you at the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

Discover the stunning gardens, temples, palaces, and traditional neighborhoods of Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital for more than 1,000 years. Later, enjoy a celebratory dinner hosted by a geisha and her apprentice.

Accommodation: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto

A combination of serenity and natural beauty, the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel is a flawless expression of modern Japanese aesthetics. Guest rooms feature every amenity and comfort, while the public areas include three outstanding restaurants featuring fresh local delicacies, a fitness facility, and a terrace with a lovely waterfall. The hotel is ideally located a short walk from one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Nishi-Hoganji Temple, and a major train station.

Day 2

Kyoto: Philosopher’s Path, Nanzen-ji Temple, Nishiki Market

This morning, stroll along the tranquil, cherry-tree-lined “Philosopher’s Path.” Then, visit the 13th-century Nanzen-ji Temple, walk through the Nishiki Market, and participate in a traditional tea ceremony at the historic Bikoen Tea Shop.

Accommodation: Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto

A combination of serenity and natural beauty, the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel is a flawless expression of modern Japanese aesthetics. Guest rooms feature every amenity and comfort, while the public areas include three outstanding restaurants featuring fresh local delicacies, a fitness facility, and a terrace with a lovely waterfall. The hotel is ideally located a short walk from one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Nishi-Hoganji Temple, and a major train station.

Day 3

Nara: Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Shrine, Nara Park

Transfer to the former imperial capital of Nara, which boasts an astounding eight sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. See the world’s largest bronze Buddha at Todai-ji Temple, and share the trail with sacred deer in Nara’s famous park.

Accommodation: Nara Hotel, Nara

This grand historical hotel, built in 1909 during Japan’s Meiji era, has retained its Old World elegance and sophistication in its original main building. A true fusion of European and Japanese décor, guest rooms combine both traditions in design and comfort. Surrounded by manicured grounds and gardens that are contiguous with Nara’s park-like setting, the hotel offers on-site dining that includes a signature French restaurant, a traditional Japanese restaurant, a lovely tea lounge, and a wood-paneled classic bar.

Day 4

Kii Peninsula and the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route

Head for the verdant slopes, lush valleys, and rushing streams of the Kii Peninsula, where you follow in the footsteps of Kyoto’s 11th-century emperors along the revered Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. Tonight, enjoy hot-spring baths and unsurpassed views at your intimate inn.

Accommodation: Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara, Takahara

The Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara is situated directly on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking route at about 900 feet and thus has some of the best views in the Kumano region overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Simple and comfortable guestrooms have mountain views and are either Japanese-style with tatami-mat floors, futons, and low furniture or Western-style with twin beds. Traditional meals of local organic cuisine are served with multiple courses in the dining room overlooking mountains and terraced hillsides. A traditional onsite onsen bath is fed with hot-spring water.

Day 5

Chikatsuyu to Hongu Grand Shrine

Today’s walk leads to Hongu Grand Shrine, one of the Kumano Kodo’s three most important pilgrimage sites. Your route passes numerous ōji, small shrines where nobles would traditionally rest and compose poetry. At Hongu, meet a yamabushi (priest of the Shugendō faith).

Accommodation: Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara, Takahara

The Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara is situated directly on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking route at about 900 feet and thus has some of the best views in the Kumano region overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Simple and comfortable guestrooms have mountain views and are either Japanese-style with tatami-mat floors, futons, and low furniture or Western-style with twin beds. Traditional meals of local organic cuisine are served with multiple courses in the dining room overlooking mountains and terraced hillsides. A traditional onsite onsen bath is fed with hot-spring water.

Day 6

Boat ride on the Kumano River; Maruyama Senmaida rice fields

Enjoy a scenic float in a flat-bottomed boat along the sacred Kumano River, a pilgrimage route between the Hongu and Hayatama shrines. Later, wander through the terraced rice paddies of Maruyama Senmaida, and enjoy a picnic of rice balls, homemade pickles, and green tea.

Accommodation: Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara, Takahara

The Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara is situated directly on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking route at about 900 feet and thus has some of the best views in the Kumano region overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range. Simple and comfortable guestrooms have mountain views and are either Japanese-style with tatami-mat floors, futons, and low furniture or Western-style with twin beds. Traditional meals of local organic cuisine are served with multiple courses in the dining room overlooking mountains and terraced hillsides. A traditional onsite onsen bath is fed with hot-spring water.

Day 7

Mount Koya; Afternoon exploration of Osaka

This morning, stroll through the sprawling Mount Koya temple complex, center of Buddhism’s Shingon sect, with over 100 temples, a university, and a vast cemetery. Then, explore Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, before tonight’s farewell dinner.

Accommodation: Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel, Osaka

Every room at the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is spacious and elegantly designed with floor-to-ceiling views offering spectacular views of the city. Occupying the top floors of the 60-floor Abeno Harukas cultural complex, public spaces offer endless panoramas, such as the 57th floor restaurant highlighting Japanese and international cuisine with its 360 degree views and the open-air outdoor plaza atrium on the 58th floor.

Day 8

Your Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo tour concludes

After your final tour night in Osaka, you transfer to Kansai International Airport via the Haruka express train, using a pre-booked ticket provided by a Country Walkers representative. This train station is easily accessible from your hotel.

Add a Tour Extension to Your Flight + Tour Combo
Post-Tour Extension: Tokyo

2 nights from $898*

  • Two nights at the Park Hotel Tokyo
  • Train transfer from Osaka to Tokyo
  • Transfer to hotel in Tokyo
  • Two Breakfasts

For those guests reserving our Flight + Tour Combo, you may wish to further extend your time in the Land of the Rising Sun with an additional two nights in Tokyo. With its neon-spangled skyscrapers, teeming outdoor markets, serene Shinto shrines, countless sushi bars, and hidden havens of green, it’s easy to feel like Tokyo is the center of the universe. From your perfectly situated hotel in the heart of the Shiodome district, you’ll be perfectly positioned to enjoy the city’s many highlights. Use your time to prowl the Nakamise street market by Senso-ji Temple, relax in a teahouse in Hamarikyu Gardens, or witness the flamboyant street fashion of Shibuya.

Single Supplement: $398

*Please note that some hotel city taxes may need to be paid locally.

 

Flight + Tour Combo Inclusions:

  • Round-trip international airfare (includes airline fuel charges and taxes)
  • Small-group airport and hotel transfers
  • One night at the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel, Kyoto*
  • One breakfast
  • 8-day/7-night Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo guided walking tour with on-trip inclusions

*Please note that some hotel city taxes may need to be paid locally.

Tour Extension Available

Tokyo
2 nights from only $898*

Learn More

Ready to take the next step?

Request A Reservation

OR Call 800.234.6900

Dates & Prices

Tour Only

2018 Dates Per person, double occupancy Single Supplement
more info
Apr 16 - Apr 23 $6,998 $1,248
May 21 - May 28 $6,998 $1,248
Sep 24 - Oct 1 $6,998 $1,248
Oct 8 - Oct 15 $6,998 $1,248

Flight + Tour Combo

2018 Dates LOS ANGELES Change Departure Airport
Flight + Tour Combo
more info
Flight + Tour Combo
more info
Single Supplement
more info
Apr 14 - Apr 23 $8,198
$1,548
May 19 - May 28 $8,498 $1,548
Sep 22 - Oct 1 $8,198 $1,548
Oct 6 - Oct 15 $8,198 $1,548

Guides

Guides

Our guides' experience, dedication, and enthusiasm make them ideal ambassadors for your destination. They chart the course, finesse the details, and speak the language (English, as well as the local language). They also possess a truly rare skill, knowing when to let serendipity and inspiration take the lead.

Kana Hattori
Kana Hattori

Kana Hattori was born in Nagoya, raised in Kobe, and studied in Kyoto and the United States. A student of the traditional Tea Ceremony and the philosophy of Zen, living in the moment has been always a core tenet of her life. Kana loves to sing, regularly giving concerts, and is passionate about Japanese traditional culture. She looks forward to sharing her extensive knowledge with our guests through her guiding.

Fumiko Koike
Fumiko Koike

Originally from Nagano, Fumiko Koike has a degree in English literature and lived in Australia after being employed in a Japanese stockbrokerage firm. Earning a teaching certificate, Fumiko taught Japanese language and culture to Australian high school students and continues to teach English to Japanese, both young and old. Through her experience in Australia, she came to be interested in introducing Japanese culture to the people of various countries.

Japan Walkking Tour Guide
Miho Nakamasu

Miho Nakamasu was born and raised in Saitama and although her family was not interested in travelling, she was, planning her first tour at the age of 11 to Tokyo Disneyland! She has lived in the United States (as an exchange student before studying comparative cultures at university), Hong Kong, and Malaysia, and has led tour Japanese tour groups throughout Europe, South America, and Africa. Returning to Japan full time to raise her twins, she became a licensed National Guide and has since been able to live her dream of introducing her home country to visitors with all her heart and soul.

Masayo Uchimoto
Masayo Uchimoto

Although born and raised in Tokyo, Masayo Uchimoto is intimately familiar with western Japan, especially the Kyoto and Osaka areas, where she currently lives. A valued member of the Sagano guiding group, Uchimoto-san is not just a wonderful guide, she also enjoys meeting new people and providing them with memorable experiences.

Kaoru Tejima
Kaoru Tejima

Kaoru Tejima was born in Kyoto, moved to Osaka, and, after 10 years living in London acting as a tourist, student, amateur flautist, and Japanese language tutor, she returned to Japan and currently lives in Nara. She has been guiding on a volunteer and professional basis for many years and considers the revered Tea Ceremony a valued hobby. In addition, she continues to teach Japanese and enjoys Latin dance.

Photos

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