【Kumano Kodo】Walking Nakahechi for 2 days and 1 night! Recommended model courses introduced
“Kumano Kodo” is registered as a World Heritage Site. This is the pilgrimage route that pilgrims walked toward Kumano Sanzan (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha) in Wakayama Prefecture.”中辺路 ” is read as “Nakahechi” and refers to a part of Kumano Kodo.
Kumano Kodo is divided into five main routes: Nakahechi, Iseji, Kohechi, Kiiji, and Ohechi. Among them, Nakahechi is one of the roads that most people have walked.
In this article, we will introduce you to the recommended routes for walking on a two-day and one-night itinerary along the Nakahechi! Courses that can make your short stay meaningful will be introduced!
he sightseeing spots along Nakahechi are introduced in the article below.
3 model courses based on what kind of trip you want
Nakahechi is a 105 km long road that goes around Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine from the Tanabe area where JR Kii-Tanabe Station is located, to Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine. Nakahechi was the official pilgrimage route for “Kumano Gokou” held between the Heian and Kamakura eras. Even today, many people still walk along this road.
“I want to capture major tourist attractions!”
“I enjoy walking”
“I want to stay at a hot spring inn!”
In this article, the routes that meet the above three requests will be introduced. Enjoy your World Heritage trip with a course that suits your purpose.
2 days 1 night trip for those who want to capture the main spots
<Course> JR Kii-Tanabe Station~ Takahara Inn~ Kumano Hongu Taisha
The tourist attractions you should keep in mind if you’re planning to walk along Nakahechi are
・Great Torri Gate (Ootorii) in Kumano Hongu Taisha and Oyunohara
・Kumano Kujuuku-Oji (99 royal princes) such as Takijiri-oji and Chikatuyu-oji
We will introduce you to a route which you can enjoy for 2 days 1 night by efficiently traveling around these places by bus.
JR Kii-Tanabe Station — (Bus: 40 mins) — Takijiri-oji — Walking distance: 6.0 km (Walk: 2 1/2 hours) — Takahara (Takahara Inn)
Takahara — (Bus: 15 minutes) — Hosshinnmon-oji — Walking distance: 7.0km (3.5 hours walk) — Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine
By using the bus, you can stay at Kumano Hongu Taisha for a long time.
The first thing you should do when you arrive at Takahara on Day 1 is sightseeing. There is an observation deck called Kiri-no-Sato Takahara, famous for its view of the sea of clouds, and the “Takahara Kumano Shrine” which is the oldest on the Kumano Kodo.
Check below for sightseeing spots around Takahara!
“SEN.RETREAT TAKAHARA” which is a recently built Inn in Takahara, has facilities to enjoy BBQ and you can make bonfires at night. There are also other characteristic accommodations such as the “Kiri-no-Sato Takahara” which has hot springs and “Hoshizora-no-Yado” where you can enjoy the starry night sky.
The second day of walking from Hosshinnmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha is a gentle downhill road, so it’s very easy to walk on. There are Mizunomi-oji, Fushiogami-oji, and Harido-oji in between, so you can also stop by many of the Kumano Kujuuku-Oji.
You can stay leisurely at Kumano Hongu Taisha, so this course is perfect for feeling the slow flow of time in nature. If you go to Kumano Hongu Taisha, don’t forget to visit “The Great Torri Gate in Oyunohara ” which is about a 10-minute walk. It is a place where the main shrine used to be and was moved to its current location due to the flood. However, Otorii, which boasts the largest size in Japan, remains.
2 days 1 night for those with healthy legs!
<Course> JR Kii-Tanabe Station~ Chikatsuyu Inn~ Kumano Hongu Taisha
This is just the course for those who are used to trekking or are confident in their physical strength!
It is a 38-kilometer walking route from Takijiri-oji to Kumano Kumano Hongu Taisha. The last bus from Kumano Hongu Taisha to JR station is early, so we recommend you start walking early on the second day.
JR Kii-Tanabe — (Bus: 40 minutes) — Takijiri-oji — Walking distance: 6.0 km (Walk 2.5 hours) — Takahara — Walking distance: 9.0 km (Walk: 4 hours) — Chikatsuyu-oji (Chikatsuyu Inn)
Cikatsuyu — Walking distance: 4.0 km — Tsugizakura-oji (Nonaka Ipposugi) — Walking distance: 14 km — Hosshinmon-oji — Walking distance: 7.0 km — Kumano Hongu Taisha (whole journey of 9 hours)）
The course starts from “Takijiri-oji,” which is said to be the beginning of Kumano’s sacred land and ends at Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the Kumano Sanzan. There is an up-down, and there is a height difference of about 600 meters between Takijiri-oji and the highest point. We recommend those with confident physical strength to give it a try.
There are also several accommodations in the accommodation area of Chikatsuyu. There are only a few inns along Kumano Kodo, so it is difficult to make a reservation, but there are many accommodations where you can make a reservation if it is Chikatsuyu. In any case, early accommodation is recommended!
There is also an inn called “SEN.RETREAT CHIKATSUYU,” which recently opened in April 2022. This accommodation was a container villa but remodeled and even has a pizza oven. There are many ingredients from Wakayama Prefecture prepared for you, to heal your tired body from trekking.
It takes about 9 hours from Chikatsuyu to Kumano Hongu Taisha. Leave early on the second day if you would like to take some time enjoying the Kumano Hongu Taisha.
2 days 1 night at a relaxing hot spring inn for those who want some specialty of the inn.
<Course> JR Kii-Tanabe Station~ Yunomine Onsen ~JR Kii-Tanabe Station
For those who care especially about the accommodation, we recommend the “Yunomine Onsen” which is a hot spring resort along Nakahechi.
Yunomine Onsen has “Tsubo-yu,” a World Heritage Site. You can experience other ways of enjoying World Heritage Sites besides trekking.
JR Kii-Tanabe Station (Bus: about 2 hours and 20 minutes) – Hosshinmon-oji – Walking distance: 7.0 km (Walk: about 2 hours) – Kumano Hongu Taisha – Walking distance: 3.5 km (Walk: about 2 hours) Yunomine Onsen.
Yunomine Onsen — （Bus：30 minutes）– Chikatsuyu — 9.0 km（Walk：4hours) — Takahara — （Bus：40 minutes）– JR Kii-Tanabe Stattion
The route from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen is called “Dainichi-goe.” 3.5km is short, but it takes about 2 hours because there are steep stairs.
On the second day, we will go back to the same route, but let’s change where we walk. The Nakahechi route has various sides to see. Near Chikatsuyu-oji, there is a statue of “Gyuba-doji Statue” known for its cute stone statue.
The bus time during the 2 days 1 night Nakahechi trip
Of the three courses introduced this time, two courses have Kumano Hongu Taisha as the final goal point. When you leave Kumano Hongu Taisha on your way home, what you need to keep in mind is the bus time.
The last bus departing from Kumano Hongu Taisha to JR Kiitana Station leaves at 16:40 and the last bus bound for JR Shinguu Station leaves at 18:58 (as of May 2022). Make a plan so that you can finish sightseeing by this time on the second day.