While Japan has long been known for its dynamic cities, only recently has the beauty and culture of the Japanese countryside begun to gain attention. On this trip we get to experience both the beauty and culture along with some of the history, all while walking the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail. The Kumano Kodo refers to a network of pilgrimage trails through the southern Kansai region of Japan. The Kodo (old ways) are an important part of the region's Unesco designation and have been in use for over 1000 years. The Kodo are the only pilgrimage paths besides the Camino de Santiago to be designated a world heritage site and we get to experience these amazing and ancient trails.
Maximum group size: 14
What's not included: Travel to and from Japan, airport transfer outside referenced group transfers, beverages at meals, snacks, 1 dinner, guide gratuities, travel insurance.
This trip is designed for women who want to combine hiking off the beaten track in the Japanese countryside, learning about Japanese history and culture and walk one of the 2 pilgrimage Unesco designated trails in the world. Note: Although our focus will be more on the history and culture, the walks are moderate to strenuous. Women should be in good physical condition and able to hike for three to six hours a day with elevation gains between 550 - 1000 feet. Rating: 1 2 4 5
This is a hiking and sightseeing trip, where our emphasis is more on experiencing Japan's history and culture than on covering miles.
We will be staying in three different types of accommodation. In Kyoto, we will stay in modern Western-style hotels (3 nights). While rooms are generally smaller than in the US and Canada, all have en-suite facilities. In Tanabe, Yunomine Onsen, and Kii-Katsuura we will stay at a hot springs ryokan. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style inn, usually older wooden buildings with rooms in the Japanese style with tatami (straw) matting and futons laid out in the evening by the ryokan staff. Evening meals are served communally in the dining room, and are exquisitely prepared multi- course meals. Many ryokan have both en suite bathrooms (with the exception of some older buildings) and communal hot spring style baths (segregated by sex). In one town we stay in Minshuku, which are smaller family-run inns. At these smaller family-run inns the bathrooms will be downstairs or down the hallway from the sleeping rooms. Both Ryokan and Minkushu are classic Japanese experiences. Please note: Vegetarian options are available, but limited. Strict vegetarian diets, vegan diets, or gluten free diets will be not be possible to accommodate due to the pervasiveness of the fish-based stock dashi and the use of soy sauce and miso in Japanese cuisine. There will not be much if any fresh fruits and/or vegetables. Most of the vegetables will be pickled, fried or cooked in soup.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
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