The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage, which for over a millennium has been integral to the country’s different religious communities, is as sacred to Shinto as it is to followers of Buddha. During your stay you will see the three Grand Shrines of Kumano Hongu, Kumano Hayatama and Kumano Nachi, in an area dotted with the steaming, bubbling Japanese hot-springs - known locally as onsen. Each night you will stay in either a luxurious hotel or in the serene surroundings of Shukubo (guest rooms provided by monks for temple guests and pilgrims). The trail is of such cultural importance that in 2004, UNESCO registered the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage as part of "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range", and is an experience to be savored whichever way your spiritual leanings lie.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Touch down at Shirahama airport for your transfer to the Hongu area, and a briefing session at the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center to learn the details of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. You will then head to Fujiya Ryokan, one of the most impressive accommodations in Kawayu Onsen, where you can reinvigorate your body and mind with a dip in the bubbles of the hot-spring bath, and relax in your choice of traditional or contemporary Japanese-styled interiors.
Awake restored and refreshed, and drive out to Hosshinmon-oji - the entrance to the divine precincts of the Kumano Hongu Taisha. Passing through the gate acts as a metaphor for your re-birth as you enter the sacred regions and begin the four-mile trek to Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine; this is the most spiritually significant part of the pilgrimage. Take a boat or drive along the Kumano-gawa river, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, towards Shingu and see the second of the grand shrines. From here, go directly to Katsuura - and your lodgings for the night at Hotel Nakanoshima - located on its own private island just ten minutes from shore.
Today starts with a short 30-minute drive to Nachi, home to Kumano Nachi Taisha, the third sacred shrine of your journey, and the crashing waters of the Nachi Falls. After lunch you will travel to Shirahama Onsen - one of the oldest hot springs in Japan - taking in dramatic views of the North Pacific as you drive along on the ocean road. These onsen appear like natural infinity pools, seeming to almost merge with the ocean as they create a one-of-a-kind setting, highly prized as a romantic setting for wedding proposals and honeymoons.
Head out to Koyasan, just three hours from Shirahama, and arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon touring the local shrines of Mount Koya. Here you will pass through the Daimon (Great Gate) of the mountain to visit the temples of Danjo-garan, Okunoin and Kongobuji - noted for its modern BanryÅ«tei rock garden; covering more than 25,180 square feet, it is Japan’s largest example and features a representation of two dragons, created from over 140 artfully placed granite stones. Shukubo is available at all of these sites.
Another early morning is recommended for your final day, in order to experience the Otsutome ceremony. This Buddhist dawn prayer service is the ideal way to end your stay on the mountain before checking out and making your way back to Osaka or Kyoto, and onto your next port of call.
Nestled amongst a lush landscape overlooking the Ota River and a short drive from the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Hongu Taisha Shinto shrine, the Fujiya Onsen Hotel is an ideal location to stay while enjoying the local natural splendor and the neighboring Kawayu Hot Spring. The hotel's 31 suites and rooms are furnished with inviting balconies and feature simple Japanese designs with futons, tatami mats, and chabudai dining tables. Guestrooms are also equipped with flat-screen televisions, mini fridges, electric kettles, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The on-site gender-segregated bathhouses have indoor and outdoor pools with natural spring water. Parking is complimentary, as are breakfast and dinner which is served in banquet halls or private dining rooms.
On a rugged island surrounded on all sides by an azure sea rests Hotel Nakanoshima, a modern hot spring hotel complex with opulent rooms that feature breathtaking views of the bay and ample opportunity for relaxation. The spacious rooms are furnished with futons and tatami mats and include modern amenities such as minibars, flat screen televisions, and free Wi-Fi. Fresh, hot spring water invites guests at the hotel’s indoor and outdoor bathhouses, many of which afford spectacular ocean views. Breakfast and dinner are included with one’s stay and are served in-room or at the various on-site dining rooms. There is also a seasonal outdoor pool and beach access available for guests. Additionally, the hotel's location conveniently provides access to such tourist sites as the "Kumano Kodo" world heritage sites of Nachisan and Kumano Sanzan.
Infinito Hotel and Spa is located on a hill in Shirahama Onsen town, a traditional onsen town known for its unique rock formations. Recently renovated in April of 2017, the hotel has a total of 74 rooms, which include both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. Room amenities include air-conditioning, a coffee and tea maker and a refrigerator. Relax in the hotel’s indoor and outdoor mineral hot-spring baths overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Also on property is an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a tennis court, a library and the spa, Salon La Mer. The spa has an array of treatments for those seeking relaxation. There are 2 on-site restaurants and a café with a terrace. Nagi serves Japanese cuisine with a focus on seasonal dishes, while Geovanni serves Italian cuisine. The hotel is located approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Kansai International Airport and 10 minutes from Nanki-Shirahama domestic airport.
Often found in popular pilgrimage destinations, temple lodging, or shukubo, offer travelers and pilgrims a chance to experience the simple, traditional lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Rooms are private, traditional Japanese rooms with tatami floors, sliding doors and futon bedding. Some temples may offer higher-end accoutrements such as private washrooms and lavish meals, similar to a mid-range ryokan. Dinner and breakfast feature vegetarian monks’ cuisine, shojin ryori, often with tofu skin and bean curds. Other experiences at the temple include hand copying sutras and attending the morning prayers. Guests may also enjoy the temple’s facilities which may include a garden, tea-ceremony room, and library.
Take in the best of Japan’s must-see sights on this 14-day journey. You’ll take in the world-famous Tsukiji & Toyosu Markets, board a bullet-train for Kyoto, and spend time at the cultural capital’s ancient temples, shrines, and palaces, spending your nights in some of Japan’s best hotels.
Remote Lands is offering packages to the Summer Games 2020 in Tokyo for the opening of the Games, a journey that will take travelers from the capital to the history and culture of Kyoto, from July 23 to August 1, limited to eight couples.
Join hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world in celebrating the commencement of the Summer Games on July 23. Tour some of Tokyo’s highlights on your first day, then spend four days attending your choice of events.
Visit Tokyo during the second week of its Summer Games, and spend your week touring the city and watching world-class athletic competitions. Tour the city’s highlights on your first full day and get to know Tokyo, then spend four days watching your choice of events.
Travel to Tokyo, one of the world’s most exciting and vibrant cities, and attend the last week of the 2020 Summer Games from August 4 to the event finale on August 10. Spend four days watching your choice of events, then spend your last day touring the city before attending the closing of the Summer Games.
This 13-day itinerary is a treat for anyone, a confirmed fan of Japan or not. Experience the buzz and bustle of Tokyo from the traditional wards to the ultra-modern architecture. You’ll travel across the country on the high-speed bullet trains, or by private transfer, visiting rural Yamanaka, historic Kanazawa on the west coast of Honshu, and Kyoto.
Tohoku is home to both a unique culture and fantastic natural surroundings; this 12-day trip shows off the best of these two facets of modern day Tohoku. Ideally done in the first week of August, you’ll enjoy some of the best seasonal festivals the region has to offer while also giving you the opportunity to hike beautiful mountains.
Discover Japan’s exciting history on this exciting 11-day luxury journey through Japan’s most fascinating age-old cities. Explore the colossal Todaiji Temple, visit ancient shrines, take an emotional tour of Hiroshima, and embrace Japan’s old world charm, while staying at some of Japan’s most luxurious hotels.
Experience a side of Japan that very few visitors get to see on this exciting two-week adventure through Kyushu and Shikoku. Enjoy breathtaking hikes in some truly beautiful places, marvel at spectacular scenery and soak up the local culture in these two unique, remote areas of Japan.
Step off the tourist trail for this exciting 11-day luxury journey through Japan’s less-visited areas. Take to Japan’s southwest shores as you journey from Kyoto to Osaka, stopping at UNESCO-listed sites, old castle towns, Shrine Island, and Asia’s largest limestone cave, while staying in luxury hotels like the Hyatt.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
Cheerleaders, history, balloons — watching baseball in Japan is a whole new way to see the game.
Whether it’s the wilds of Tohoku or the hot springs of Ishikawa, Japan has a wealth of experiences for your wellbeing.
Remote Lands speaks to executive director Naohito Ise of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) about the future of travel in Japan.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.