Traditions don’t just run deep in Japan; on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, they walk.
Tradition permeates Japanese life. You’ll find it in the precise choreography of a tea ceremony or the colorful, stylized theatricality of a geisha at your ryokan (traditional inn) in Kyoto. Step onto Japan’s ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail and you’ll sense it all around you. In centuries past, Japanese emperors walked this route from temple to temple, seeking transcendence through physical exertion. Now you’ll follow in their footsteps, climbing timeworn stone staircases through forests dense with ferns and moss, watched over by jizo, Japan’s guardian deity of travelers. Enlightenment still lies around every bend, as simple as sunlight filtering through massive cedars—or the hot-spring-fed onsen baths and exquisitely presented organic meals that greet you every evening of this Japan walking tour.
- Visit a Shugend-o temple and meet with a yamabushi priest to learn how endurance, meditation, and martial arts combine in this often-misunderstood religion.
- Attend dinner in Kyoto’s Gion district hosted by a geisha and her apprentice, gaining an appreciation for the strict training underlying a geisha’s timeless grace.
- Explore Kyoto’s famous Nishiki Market, a shopping street with over 100 tightly packed stalls, sampling popular and traditional Japanese street food as you go.
The Celestine Kyoto Gion
Japanese tradition blends with modern style at the Celestine Kyoto Gion, where rooms with simple, nature-inspired décor are paired with modern amenities like in-room WiFi and A/C. Enjoy green tea in your room, served from an elegant tea set, or head to the hotel’s exclusive guest-only lounge to relax with a drink or a snack. The on-site restaurant, Yasaka Endo, serves up savory meals made from kyo-yasai – vegetable varieties unique to Kyoto. Take a bath in your room to soak away fatigue, or visit the hotel’s traditional Japanese bath house, overlooking a serene garden. This accommodation is available on limited departures.
This grand historical hotel, built in 1909 during Japan’s Meiji era, has retained its Old World elegance and sophistication in the original main building. A true fusion of European and Japanese décor, guest rooms combine both stylings in their design along with modern comforts like WiFi and air conditioning. Surrounded by manicured grounds and gardens 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 classic wood-paneled bar.
Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato-Takahara
Overlooking the Hatenashi Mountain Range, 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. 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.
Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
Every room at the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is spacious and elegantly designed, with modern amenities including WiFi and air conditioning, and floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views of the city. Occupying the top floors of the 60-floor Abeno Harukas cultural complex, the adjacent public spaces also enjoy endless panoramas, such as the 57th-floor restaurant with its 360-degree views and its mix of Japanese and international cuisine, and the open-air outdoor plaza atrium on the 58th floor.
Linger Longer with a Tour Extension
2021 Post-Tour Extension - Tokyo
- Two nights at the Park Hotel Tokyo†
- Train transfer from Osaka to Tokyo
- Transfer to hotel in Tokyo
- Two breakfasts
2 Nights From $1048
per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $398
This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, your pre-booked taxi will take you from the hotel to Shin-Osaka station. You travel using a pre-booked Shinkansen (bullet train) ticket provided to you by a Country Walkers representative. You are met upon arrival at Tokyo station. Please look for a representative holding a Country Walkers sign. You are then transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. (No other meals or services included.)
Country Walkers provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Tokyo during your stay.
After you enjoy an included breakfast at your hotel you may experience Tokyo at your leisure. Your hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of the Shiodome district, an area with many of the city’s highlights. Use your time to prowl the Nakamise street market by Senso-ji Temple, relax in a teahouse in Hamarikyo Gardens, or witness the flamboyant street fashion of Shibuya. (Lunch and dinner are on your own.)
Your Tokyo extension concludes following breakfast at your hotel. Your onward travel to your departure airport is not included, but the hotel concierge can assist with booking an appropriately timed limousine bus transfer.