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.
• Hiking: The 1,000-year-old Kumano Kodo Trails are a sacred network of pilgrimage trails that link some of Japan's most important spiritual sites.
• Onsen: Revive weary hiker's muscles in the soothing waters of the region’s mineral-rich hot springs.
• Temple Stay: Overnight in a shukubo (temple lodging) to experience the daily life of a monk; eating shojin ryori (vegetarian food), attending dawn prayers and meditating in the gardens.
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.
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.
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