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Deep within the sacred Kii Mountains in Japan hides Kumano Kodo—one of the world’s premier spiritual routes, meandering through quiet forests and along the wild Pacific. This millennium-old pilgrimage gathers an intricate network of trails connecting sun-dappled woods of cedar trees, river valleys, moss-blanketed walls, and ancient stone pathways. And while most people use a bus or a train to tour Kumano Kodo and its Three Grand Shrines, this 7-day bike & hike adventure is human-powered—helping you to fully immerse in the area’s spirituality, culture, and traditions. All the logistical obstacles are taken care of: your luggage is transferred, top-notch accommodation booked, and most meals included. And just when dusk gently embraces the horizon, retreat to your cozy inns, relish authentic Japanese food, and unwind in the bubbling wells of onsen.

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  • Learn about tradition and culture

    Pedal your way through the millennium-old pilgrimage and honor the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano

  • Ease of mind

    Leave all the worries and burdens behind—luggage is transferred, accommodation booked, food taken care of

  • Relax at the end of the day

    Loosen up your weary leg muscles with daily baths in onsen, Japanese hot springs

Itinerary

Kumano Kodo, Japan’s sacred pilgrimage, lures people from all corners of the world. It’s a thousand-year-old network of trails cutting through the mountains of Kii, connecting the Three Grand Shrines of Komodo and a myriad of tinier shrines along the way. Your local, experienced, English-speaking guide will lead you through the trails, making sure you feel and eat like a local along the way! A support vehicle will be available, your luggage will be transferred to the next accommodation, and most meals are included—it’s up to you just to kick back and enjoy!

  • Meet your guide and your group at a hotel in Shirahama, a lovely seaside resort in the south of Wakayama prefecture. Get your bikes fitted, go through a briefing, and do a short, warm-up ride in Shirahama town. Get to know your team over dinner.
    Meals: Dinner
    Cycling: 10-15 km / 6-9 miles
    Accommodation: Japanese-style inn or a modern resort hotel

    Shirahama resort town

  • Bike to the mountain of Kumano via one of the Kumano Kodo routes, Nakahechi. This trail gives you the chance to soak in the history and culture of the area, and as you go higher, you’ll enter the sacred sites of Kumano Sanzan (the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano). Reach a point with a view of the mountains, and once you’ve had lunch, start the Kumano Kodo walk! Go into the forest and start walking the ancient pilgrimage path, surrounded by Japanese cedars—you can expect a natural path, stone pavements, moss-covered stone steps, and bridges. You’ll also notice many small shrines called oji, whose purpose is to wish pilgrims a safe trip. End your day in Chikatsuyu Oji along Nakahechi, where you’ll stay for the night.
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Cycling: 30 km / 19 miles
    Accommodation: Japanese-style inn or a modern resort hotel

    Kumano Kodo hikers through the woods

  • Leave Chikatsuyu by bike and travel along a paved road of Kumano Kodo, among moss-covered stone walls and cedar groves. After pedaling further into the mountains, arrive at Hosshinmon Oji and take a lunch break there. Continue walking to Kumano Hongu Grand Shrine on foot, the most popular path in Kumano Kodo at which you’ll pay respects, and feel the ambience of the distant past. Return to biking until you reach Kawayu Onsen, a hot springs area with hot water found in any part of the riverbank you dig. Stay at a long-established ryokan (inn) and get some rest.
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Cycling: 30 km / 19 miles
    Hiking: 7.5 km / 4.7 miles
    Accommodation: Japanese-style inn

    Cycling along Kumano Kodo

  • Kick off the day with a bike ride to Yunomine Onsen, the place of a World Heritage Site of Tsuboyu. Then, biking along Kumano River, your next stop is a shrine in Shingu. Once you’ve had your coffee break in a cozy cafe along the way, continue traveling on a moss-covered, narrow path along Kumano River, enter Shingu City, and pay respect at Kumano Hayatama Grand Shrine. Visit Kamikura Shrine, where the Kumano Gongen deity was said to descend to earth for the first time. The shrine is surrounded by an extremely steep, stone staircase and a massive boulder at the top overlooking the Kumano Sea. Lodge in the heart of Shingu City.
    Meals: Breakfast
    Cycling: 50 km / 31 miles
    Accommodation: Japanese-style inn or a modern resort hotel

    Moss-covered walls and road of Kumano Kodo

  • Pedal your way along the sea to the last of Kumano Sanzan shrines, Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine. Once you arrive there, start hiking the Daimon Zaka, a stone pavement with the most vivid reminiscence of the ancient Kumano Kodo—feel like a pilgrim of the past, determined to complete the demanding journey to visit Kumano shrines. The inspiration for the faith that led to the establishment of Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine were the Nachi Falls—at 133 m (436 ft), this is Japan’s highest waterfall! Once you’ve soaked in the views, bike down the mountain and towards the sea. Today you’ll be staying in Kii-Katsuura, an area with the highest tuna yield in Japan—soak in an onsen and enjoy a delicious meal.
    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Cycling: 30 km / 19 miles
    Hiking: 3 km / 2 miles
    Accommodation: Japanese-style inn or a modern resort hotel

    Shrine of Kumano Kodo

  • Take a train to Kushimoro. Today you’ll go on an incredible biking experience along one of the clearest rivers in the Kansai region, the Koza River, going from one, incredibly massive, strangely-shaped rock to another. The climax of the day is the surreal view of Hashigui Iwa in the afternoon, a row of rocks that extends into the Pacific Ocean. For your last night of the tour, you’ll stay at a resort hotel that stands at the top of the hill in front of Hashigui Iwa. Be sure to check out the view from the hotel’s outdoor bath of the rising sun casting the morning light onto Hashigui Iwa!
    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Cycling: 40 km / 25 miles
    Accommodation: Modern resort hotel

    Hashigui Iwa rocks

  • After a hearty breakfast at your modern hotel, it’s time to leave. Say goodbye to your team and your guides, and if you’d like to stay longer, just ask your guides for some recommendations! If you have a flight to catch, take a shuttle bus to Kushimoto Station, the closest JR station on the Kisei Main Lain. From there, there are non-stop express trains towards Shin-Osaka and Kyoto.
    Meals: Breakfast

    Hashigui Iwa rocks in Japan

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Meet your guides

Bicycle Tours JP
5.00
Bicycle Tours JP
Local company in Nasu
Bicycle Tours JP know every corner of the places they tour and can arrange unique experiences. Bicycle Tours JP take the omotenashi approach with their guests, meaning that they care for them wholeheartedly in the Japanese spirit of hospitality. They’ll make sure you visit the best restaurants and accommodation wherever you go. They strive to give their guests the best possible experience, and an expert, English-speaking guide is here to help make that happen.
Tetsuya
5.00
Tetsuya
Founder and Lead Guide in Bicycle Tours JP
Founder and Lead Guide in Bicycle Tours JP
Born and raised in Tokyo, Tetsuya has traveled to over 40 countries. His passion to recreate bicycle tours he experienced around the world led him to Nasu, where he established a company specialized in bicycle touring. Being a passionate cyclist for more than 20 years, his love and knowledge about the area is unmatched.
Yoshi
5.00
Yoshi
Bicycle Maintenance Engineer, Bicycle Technician, and Sports Bike Mechanic
Bicycle Maintenance Engineer, Bicycle Technician, and Sports Bike Mechanic
Yoshi was born and raised in the Kansai region, and ever since he first joined a university cycling club, he has biked all over Japan. Yoshi also enjoys road races and participates in them a few times a year. Apart from being super friendly, Yoshi is a fantastic, reliable tour guide and a mechanic who can overcome any obstacles during the tour!
5.00 (4 reviews)
Pamela Sisney

It was an excellent trip, weather didnt cooperate but still
Experienced the culture and outdoor activities!

Zonika Ramsey (source: Guide’s Facebook)

Fantastic experience. We saw so much of the country side and the tour was well organised.

Deirdre C. Lee (source: Guide’s Facebook)

I had a lot of fun on this bike trip. The scenery was beautiful, the air was fresh and the companions were great. So was our guide, 山本さん, who was very knowledgeable on the sites in the area. Really enjoyed harvesting edamame and mini tomatoes, which were delicious! The lunch was excellent! Was so full after that. Definitely recommended!

michael henricks

The lead guide for this 7 day cycling & hiking adventure of Japan\’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route- Wakayama, Japan- Tetsuya Yamamoto, is an amazing gentleman who demonstrated an abundance of cultural and regional knowledge and insights. His route planning allowed the tour to unfold at an exciting and achievable pace, revealing an itinerary that truly showcased the amazing and somewhat remote region. He showed patience, kindness and humor with his guests, leadership and resourcefulness, and always offered help when needed or requested. He provided the tour van support, a large, comfortable and capable vehicle that shuttled the bikes, all of our luggage, and 7 people total- an enormous amenity that proved indispensable when the weather turned to heavy rain and it was decided to pivot from the original plan- (monsoon level rain makes for sketchy cycling!) and diversify the original plan with additional cultural exploration- adding shrines and sacred Shinto religious sites, museums, and local craft artisans to our itinerary- even a whale museum with a trained dolphin and whale show and opportunity to feed them! Finally- his photography of our adventure proved to be on a professional level. His assisting guide Takashi Suzuki was a highly capable expert cyclist and hiking leader, and demonstrated the same professionalism and resourcefulness. Both of these gentlemen were excellent!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • Experienced, local hiking & biking guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 7-day hike & bike tour along the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage
      • Accommodation (6 nights in twin-shared rooms)
      • Most meals (6 breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches, 5 dinners — more details in the itinerary)
      • One beverage for a toast (Kanpai) per dinner
      • Van support
      • Mechanical support
      • Luggage transfer by van
      • Bike transfer by van during hiking
      • Train on day 6
      • Snacks and water during ride
      • Accident insurance (limited)

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Japan
      • Meals and beverages not under the “what’s included”
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • In order to join the hike and bike tour along Kumano Kodo, you need to be a moderate-level biker, ready for 30-60 km (19-38 miles) per day, as well as for hiking for 3 half days. If you choose to rent e-hybrid bakes, that will make the mileage and the ascents easier.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Duffle bag or suitcase for all your personal belongings (try to pack light)
      • Day pack large enough to carry items you’ll need throughout the day (around a 20-30L bag)
      • Bike helmet and bike — option to rent
      • Cycling and hiking clothing
      • Leisure clothing
      • Appropriate shoes for cycling and hiking
      • Sun hat
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Spare clothes for layering
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • The accommodation for your week-long tour has been carefully selected to provide you with the experience of Japanese culture and traditions. This way, one day you’ll be staying at Japanese-style hot-spring inns (onsen ryokans), the other you’ll enjoy the amenities of modern resort hotels. Almost every accommodation (except in Shingu) has its own hot springs (onsen)! After a long day pedaling and walking your way through spectacular trails, you’ll retreat to your cozy accommodations, rest and relax for the upcoming days!

    The accommodation is twin-shared, but it’s possible to choose a single supplement upon booking.

  • One of the definite highlights of touring Kumano Kodo is the food. While you’re on the trail, keep in mind that you won’t have a wide range of food choices because Japanese food is served everywhere. You will be able to relish Japanese and Kumano’s local cuisine and its delicacies, including mehari-zushi, plums, fresh tuna, tempura, sashimi, trout, etc. Eat like a local for the duration of your tour!

    If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know in time and your requests will be catered to as much as possible. It’s worth noting that past tour participants who were vegetarians or had food allergies were satisfied with the food.

  • If you’d like to, you can bring your own bikes, but don’t sweat if it’s too much hassle bringing it—your guides provide rentals. Upon checkout, you can choose between:

      • high-performance carbon road bikes (Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc 105 etc.)
      • comfortable adventure bikes (Cannondale SLATE)
      • high-quality e-hybrid bikes (YAMAHA / TREK / MIYATA)

    Once you’re on tour, a support vehicle will be available. No need to carry your bags on your bike, they will safely be transported to your accommodation. You will also be provided with GPS devices, maps, and a GPS tracking smartphone app for checking each rider’s real-time position.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this hike and bike tour along Kumano Kodo, the maximum group size is 8 people with hiking and biking guides.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Hiking and biking the Kumano Kodo can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Shirahama, the starting point of your hike & bike Kumano Kodo tour, it’s best to fly into Kansai International Airport (KIX) or Itami Airport (ITM). Depending on where you land, it will take you 1.5-2.5 hours by car or up to 4 hours by public transport.

    You’ll meet your guide at a hotel in Shirahama on Day 1 of the tour around 1- 2pm before a short test ride. More details are to come once you book.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Japan, please refer to Japan’s COVID-19 travel information.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • Deposits 

    When booking a trip, you can either pay for it in full or reserve your spot with a 50% deposit. The remaining 50% of the trip price is to be paid 120 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

    • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
    • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
    • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    • Booking fees are non-refundable. 
    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 120 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-119 days before the trip, there is no refund.
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