2 independent reviews for Kumano Kodo trekking vacation, Japan

Reviews for Kumano Kodo trekking vacation, Japan

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review 19 Nov 2022

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

Sorry to say, it was the really alarming sight of the trail going practically vertically up the mountain at the very start of the hikes, and then the struggle towards the top. The Ancient Trail description doesn't adequately describe the extreme steepness of the trail - "We continue with a 2-hour hike ..." it airily says. I should not have booked for this tour. (I first booked for the Nankinsendo trail which would have been fine but was cancelled). Other tour members also said that the information was inadequate. Another point is that one doesn't learn beforehand that one will need to carry 3 nights' kit in a backpack: it says that luggage will be forwarded, but this is only one's suitcase and you only reunite with it once on the trail. The hikes are pretty rapid, not a lot of chance to stop to take photos, admire plants etc. However, I did enjoy the non walk parts of the vacation, staying in local inns, visiting shrines and temples and hot spring bathing, the tuna auction and Katsuura, the little port.

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

Get a proper full description from the operator of the nature of the trail, particularly if you are considering the Kumano ancient trail. Consider other tour providers.

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

I think it supported the local inn proprietors, stays in the local inns were great. Not sure about wildlife, the trail is quite popular, we didn't see any other than a few birds..

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

Excellent in parts! The actual hiking was mostly not enjoyable for me but the other components were very enjoyable. Our guide was very good, helpful, efficient and well informed. When my first, less demanding, choice was cancelled I should have investigated other providers. Some look as though they would have offered more suitable tours.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much for your review of our Kumano Ancient Trail walking tour and for traveling with us to Japan, and for being a pioneer - traveling just weeks after the border reopened! Thank you also for your patience. I see that when it became clear that your initial Nakasendo tour departure would not meet the minimum numbers required to operate, our first recommendations to you were to join a later departure of the same Nakasendo-focused tour itinerary that had met minimum numbers, or another of our small-group guided tours featuring the Nakasendo Trail, which was scheduled to depart on the same day as your original tour. We did also mention the other autumn departures which were scheduled to depart - our Kumano Ancient Trail and Land of Fire tours. When you expressed interest in the Kumano Kodo, our team provided our itinerary of the tour which includes the ascent and descent and hike duration information for each day of the hike. I am sorry that we did not highlight the difference in hiking profile between the two tours more clearly and directly. The Kumano Kodo does have more steady steep ascents, including the initial 2-3 hour ascent on the first section of the trail you refer to in your review. We also rate the Kumano Kodo as a level 3 or intermediate/strenuous walking tour, whereas the Nakasendo is a level 2 or active rated walking tour. I will take this feedback back to our entire team so we can be sure that we are providing all our travelers with full and complete information about their tours and the details of the hiking profile and luggage transfer arrangements. I am pleased to see from your review that despite these issues, you did still find parts of your vacation to be excellent, such as exploring the areas on your tour and staying in the local inns, and that you enjoyed traveling with our guide. Thank you once again for traveling with us and for your feedback.

review 3 May 2019

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

Day 6,Walk from Koguchi to Nachi Grand Shrine and waterfall. The hiking was really challenging and site sceneries at the end were amazing.

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

Have the lightest possible backpack during the hikes.

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

Yes.

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

Very Good

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