Getting to and from the Kumano Kodo

Wondering how to get to and from the Kumano Kodo, where it starts, where it finishes? Or if you’re wondering whether to get to the Kumano Kodo you’re best to come from Osaka, Kyoto or Tokyo and how to get there and how long it takes?

We can help, and it’s actually pretty simple.

The easiest major Japanese city to access the Kumano Kodo from is Osaka. From Australia and many other countries you can fly direct to Osaka, or from within Japan you can fly, or often more easily utilise Japan’s amazing rail network, to get to Osaka quickly and efficiently. And let’s face it, Japanese trains are part of the experience.

Osaka, Japan / Photo by Koi Visuals on Unsplash
Osaka, Japan / Photo by Koi Visuals on Unsplash

From Osaka it’s about 2 hours by JR operated train down to Ki Tanabe. There are multiple trains per day, and most of the trains depart via one of Osaka’s two main rail hubs, either Osaka Station or Shin Osaka Station, along with connecting with numerous local and smaller stations. The trains can be booked in advance from any JR ticketing office at any station, and this is a good idea to ensure you get a seat.

“Some trains in Japan have food carts that come along offering drinks and snacks for sale, however I haven’t personally seen these on this route, so it’s a good idea to ensure you eat or stock up, or both before boarding the train”.

The trains and stations in Japan are generally very clean, comfortable and safe!

A train from Shin Osaka to Ki Tanabe / Hiking Trails

After a couple of hours on the train you’ll arrive at Ki Tanabe Station. For Hiking Trails bookings, there’s a pre-walk briefing at the information centre at the station at a time that will be specified in your Booking Itinerary. If your Hiking Trails Kumano Kodo Package also include baggage transfers between lodging, you’ll drop your bags here.

Out the front of the Ki Tanabe Station there’s a bus stop, and it is from here you can catch a local bus to the trailhead at Takajiri where you’ll commence the Kumano Kodo.

This is the bit where over the next five or six days you challenge yourself along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, immerse your self in Japanese culture, scenery and history, and generally fall in love with Japan and the Kumano Kodo.

At the conclusion of the Kumano Kodo you’ll finish in Nachisan alongside the Nachi Taisha grand temple, and the famous Nachi waterfalls.

From Nachisan, it’s a short local bus ride into the fishing town of Kii Katsuura, and it is from Kii Katsuura that you’ll be able to catch a train back to Osaka. Again, this service is operated by JR and can be booked in advance, from JR ticketing offices around the country. The trip back takes a little longer, about 4 hours, because let’s face it, by this stage you’ve completed a pretty impressive walking feat across the Kii Peninsula. This service doesn’t normally have food and drinks available, so again eat or stock up or both before boarding your train.

Kii Katsuura / Kumano Kodo / Hiking Trails

Kii Katsuura / Kumano Kodo / Hiking Trails

Please note, generally trains and buses are not included in Hiking Trails bookings unless specifically mentioned as being included, however we’re always here to offer advice.