Hiking Japan's Kumano Kodo Trail

Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

A Five Day Trek through Japanese history

Start Date

November 15, 2018

End Date

November 19, 2018




In March, Bolt headed to Japan for a five day trek on the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo trek, from the village of Takijiri to the coastal town of Kii-Katsuura. We walked through traditional Japanese towns and past ancient temples, along the remote, mountainous trails of the Kii Peninsula. The strenuous, 35 mile hike explored the more traditional side of this multi-faceted country, and was designed as the centerpiece of each Bolt member’s extended travel through Japan’s modern city centers of Tokyo and Kyoto.

For more than 1000 years, the Kii Peninsula has been a destination of pilgrimage for emperors and aristocrats, samurai warriors, and Japanese commoners, all of whom participated in rites of passage and purification as they underwent their personal journey. Grand shrines were and remain the centerpiece of the walk, and our trek took us past the famous Hongu temple, among others.

Each day of walking varied from 3 to 14.5 miles, with climbs ranging from 1000 to 2700 feet. Members persevered through long, 6-8 hour days of hiking, and were rewarded by stunning landscapes, delicious, local food, and soaking in Japanese Onsen hot springs. Each night, they stayed in traditional Japanese inns and guesthouses (Minshuku), comfortable places to rest after each day's walk.

This 5 day Experience was designed to showcase traditional Japan. We encouraged members to add time for solo travels in Tokyo, Osaka, and/or Kyoto for a contrasting view of the country, and encouraged connecting with the Bolt members attending this experience for travel companions before and after the trek.

This was a more flexible Community Travel experience, where you’ll stay in the same accommodation with fellow Bolt members and walk at your own pace, meeting up each night. Unlike other trips, there wasn't a guide from Bolt on this trip; instead, members had detailed info for transportation, all the must-sees along the way, a group of awesome people to travel with, and a local contact along the trail, in case help was needed.

Along the way, each night members stayed in traditional Japanese inns and guesthouses (Minshuku), including a night spent with a wonderful family. Japan is a country for eating, and there was plenty of delicious food stops along the way. Accommodation was based on double/triple/quadruple occupancy, so rooms were shared withat least one fellow Bolt member.

Japan is a mix of cosmopolitan culture and pastoral, traditional living. This four day Bolt Experience was designed to give  a taste of both, with time to explore cities alongside the Kumano Kodo. Bolt’s members used the chat platform Slack to communicate, and linked up in Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka before and after to plan accommodation, restaurants, and activities.

What’s Included:

  • A small group of fellow Bolt members on this UNESO World Heritage trek
  • 4 nights at Japanese inns along the Kumano Kodo trail (double/triple/quadruple occupancy, ie you’ll be sharing a room)
  • 4 breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • One way flight from Tokyo to start of trek, and train tickets to Kyoto at end
  • Luggage transfer between towns (you’ll hike with a day pack)

Not Included:

  • Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
  • Local bus transportation (budget ~$15 per day)
  • Accommodation, food, any other expenses outside of official Experience start and end

Bolt's trips are only available to members of the community who have gone through our Discovery Process and invested in our community. Learn more:

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