Shrouded in mysticism and folklore, the Kumano Kodo is an ancient series of five pilgrimage routes that link the three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan) with the rest of the country. Set in the otherworldly mountains of the Kii Peninsula, it is one of only two UNESCO world heritage designated pilgrimages in the world.
On this tour you will be taking the 160-kilometer Iseji coastal route, unique as a pilgrimage route for its passage between mountain and sea. What makes this pilgrimage truly special is that it connects the Kumano Sanzan with the most important site in the Shinto faith, Ise Grand Shrine. Often referred to as the ‘soul of Japan’, this ancient holy site is home to Amaterasu, Japan’s most divine deity, the Shinto Goddess of the Sun. Pilgrims in the Edo period travelled to Ise and the Kumano Sanzan after completing the Saigoku 33 Kannon pilgrimage, praying and accumulating merit as they went.
Travel in the manner of these pilgrims from long ago. The journey will take you off the beaten track and deep into Japan’s rural beating heart. Through fishing towns and rice terraces, mountains and coastlines, you will get to see the true beauty of the countryside. The Iseji Route receives far fewer tourists than other routes. As a result, there is a tangible authenticity in the places you will go and the people you will meet. What’s more there will be plenty of opportunities to chat with locals, hear traditional tales and get hands-on in with their culture.
Please note that this tour is a physically demanding and requires a certain level of fitness. It may not be suitable for people with no hiking experience or with mobility issues. For more information, please contact us.
Your tour will start at JR Nagoya Station.
Here you will meet your guide in front of Nagoya city tourist information center at JR Nagoya station and receive a quick briefing about your upcoming adventure.
Travel by comfortable train to Ise station with guide.
(JR or Kintetsu line)
After dropping your luggage with a courier service, you’ll head to the most important place in the Shinto faith, Ise Grand Shrine. Take a walk around the inner shrines of Geku and Naiku to see the sublime sacred sites and learn more about Japan’s folk religion.
Next stroll through Oharaimachi, the town that developed near the gates of Ise Grand Shrine. This town once bustled with pilgrims who would shop here for souvenirs to bring home with them. The town still retains that exciting old-town shopping district feel even today.
After visiting Ise Grand Shrine, you will take local public transportation to Futamigaura. End the day by checking in at your accommodation and going for dinner at a local restaurant.
This ryokan is located within walking distance of the famous "Meoto iwa" or Wedded Rocks, a pair of rocks jutting out of the sea, bound together with the shimenawa rope of the Shinto faith. During your free time, you can enjoy the sight of the sun rising between these two rocks from May to July, or the moon rising from November to January (weather permitting).
Our inn is also within close proximity to a salt-making farm, whose product is used in Shinto purification ceremonies.