When you are arrive by bus, check in to your ryokan or shukobo and spend the rest of the day walking around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Koyasan where you’ll find breathtaking nature and magnificent Buddhist and Shinto architecture. End your day with a relaxing dinner and onsen at your lodging.
Take the scenic “Koyasan and Kumano Access Bus” from Koyasan to the sacred Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the three grand shrines that make up Kumano Sanzan. During the 5-hour bus ride, you’ll be mesmerized by the spectacular scenery of the Kii Mountain Range. Have lunch at a restaurant near Kumano Hongu Taisha and stroll around to see another marvelous World Heritage site. Then take a quick bus ride to Yunomine, the oldest active onsen town in Japan where pilgrims performed hot water purification rituals after a long journey.
Monks head to temple in Koyasan
Get ready for a 5-hour, beginner-to-moderate-level hike from Yunomine to a small town called Koguchi. This hiking route is called Kogumo-tori-goe, and it’s long but rather flat. The Hyakken- gura lookout is one of the highlights of this trail, offering scenic vistas of the sacred Kumano Mountains.
Take it easy in the morning and hop on a bus to Nachi Taisha, a World Heritage site and another one of the three sacred Kumano Sanzan shrines. Don’t miss the Nachi Falls, which is arguably the most famous and beautiful waterfall in Japan. After having lunch in the area, take a beginner-level, 4-hour hike from Nachi Taisha towards the sea to Nachi. You’ll finally come out of the mountains and see the beautiful ocean.
Head up to Kumano Hayatama Taisha, the third Kumano Sanzan shrine, and explore the Kii-Katsuura region. Then take a short ferry ride near JR Kii-Katsuura station to make your way to the elegant Nakanoshima Ryokan located on an onsen island. Walk around the island and enjoy the stunning view of the ocean. Get all the onsen time you need and have a wonderful dinner on your last evening in Wakayama.
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