Kumano Kodo trail self guided trekking vacation, Japan

“A nine day self-guided walking vacation on the Kumano Kodo trail, with five full days of hiking on the trail itself. Staying at traditional inns along the way”


Kyoto | Guided tour guide in Kyoto | Kiyomizu and Sanjusangendo Temples | Philosopher's path | Train journey along Kii Peninsula | Takahara | Nakaheji | National Historic Road | Chikatsuyu | Yunomine | Kumano Shrine | Koguchi | Nachi waterfall | Nachi Shrine

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kumano Kodo trail self guided trekking vacation, Japan


1. Protection of Local environment
You will experience the ‘satoyama’ landscape of rural Japan, the border area between arable flat land where rice is grown, and the mountains. Managed sustainably over centuries, it is biologically diverse and supports a wide variety of wildlife. The presence of small-scale tourism in Kumano region has encouraged the conservation of these areas, and discouraged the development of golf-courses and other projects which have negative effects on the local biodiversity. We support conservation through the Nature Conservancy Council of Japan.

2. Wild life
We respect wildlife by avoiding quick movements, loud noises, getting too close and feeding animals.We help with the preservation of local culture by educating visitors about local traditions and crafts, and making the history and culture a central theme of their visit.

3. Waste
We follow the principles of ‘Leave no Trace’ on our walking tours. We do not leave behind any waste on our tours. On our walking tours we dispose of all waste properly to avoid contamination of water sources. We avoid as much the use of paper, and do as much of our marketing as possible on-line, using internet fax and avoid printing out paper. When we do print we use double side as much as possible.

4. Transport
We organize the trips to use local public transport as much as possible where this is an option, lessening the environmental impact of extra vehicles on small country roads. We encourage our employees to walk/bike to the office.


1. A fair deal
We work only with small local businesses rather than international chains, and where possible we source goods and supplies locally, using only small, locally-owned and run accommodation and restaurants. This ensures that as much as possible of the money remains within the local economy. We promote travels to often visit the lesser-known (but equally enchanting) areas of the countries we visit, and this helps to spread the economic benefit of tourism more evenly.

You will be staying at these traditional houses, some over 200 years old. They are owned and run by several generations of one family, and all income from visitors stays in the village and brings the benefit of jobs for the younger generation. Your food will be prepared from locally-sourced fish, meat, and vegetables. Many owners also grow their own vegetables and rice. We support The Japan National Trust which helps protect the traditional buildings of rural Japan.

We believe that small group tourism encourages young people who would otherwise leave to find work in the cities to stay and start small-scale sustainable enterprises that cater to visitors. We try to avoid the destinations that cater to mass-market tourism, taking our guest to the lesser-known but if not more rewarding places that larger tour companies tend to avoid due to their unsuitability for large groups. This means our clients money will end up in small community that may have little in the way of work for its young people.

2. Local Crafts & Culture
To offer unique, engaging and educative tours which take visitors to lesser-known countries and regions, and introduce them to the culture, history and traditions of the people who live there. We provide cultural classes which help spread and preserve the culture, knowledge and traditions of the locals. We also encourage our tour leaders to have a deep knowledge of the local people and culture. They have often lived and worked locally for many years. By traveling the quieter backroads and encouraging personal contact with the local people, we reveal a side of these countries that most visitors never see.

Reviews of Kumano Kodo trail self guided trekking vacation, Japan

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

All of it was good. The highlight might have been the first sight of the Golden Temple in Kyoto, or the first proper Japanese meal.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

As it is primarily a walking vacation through woods, I would recommend one takes good walking boots and a stick.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Mainly staying staying in small, traditional hotels (ryokan) must be good.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. All the arrangements worked perfectly.

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