• Pages 240
  • Language English
  • Author Kat Davis
  • First Published 2019
  • Weight 270 grams
  • Cost $30.38

Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Guide Book

Japan's Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Book Review

This guidebook from UK based publisher Cicerone is all about Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage trek. This series of trails was included on the World Heritage List in 2004 and is centred on three Shinto-Buddhist shrines. The various pilgrimage routes through the mountainous Kii peninsula, south of Osaka provide ample opportunity to visit the major and secondary shrines, to take in Japanese culture, and last but not least enjoy the amazing scenery on offer.

This guide book is typical of others by Cicerone – publisher of a huge range of guidebooks from around the world – it has the system down pat.

First up ithe book s the compact in size. The small format is so easy to throw into a pack or a small bag and at 270 grams it isn’t going to weigh you down. Clear route descriptions and mapping (not topographic) are provided as well as comprehensive information on history, culture and accomodation. In addition, the lay out of book has been well thought thru making it easy to follow. This book provides all the relevant information for foreign hikers to work out what experience they want given this trail can be walked either as a guided or non guided option.

For me there were only a couple of shortcomings with this book. The first being a lack of an index which seems to be something that Cicerone doesn’t include. Maybe this is just me but sometimes I find it easier to negotiate a book when I can go to a specific piece of information that doesn’t quite fit into a specific category. The second negative is the limited information on flora and fauna, and considering the importance of both to the Autumn foliage season and the Cherry Blossom season, a greater emphasis seems a reasonable expectation.

Having said that, this is a great guidebook for those considering walking this unique trail and is essential to getting the best out of this walk.

Chapter Headings

  • Regional overview map
  • Map key
  • Pilgrimage trails overview map
  • Route summary tables
  • Introduction
    • History
    • Japanese spirituality
    • The pilgrimage trails
    • Dual pilgrim status
    • Wildlife
    • Group travel or independant
    • Getting there
    • When to go
    • Accomodation
    • Food and drink
    • Money
    • Post, phones and internet
    • Language
    • Cultural etiquette
    • Hiking in Japan
    • What to take
    • Luggage transfers
    • Waymarking
    • Maps and GPS
    • Staying healthy and safe
    • Using this guide
  • The Three Grand Shrines and Koyasan
    • Kumano Hongu Taisha
    • Kumano Hayatama Taisha
    • Kumano Nachi Taisha
    • Koyasan
  • Hongu and Surrounding Area 
    • Route 1 Hongu loop walk
  • Nakahechi
    • Route 2 Nakahechi route
      • Stage 1 Takijiri-oji to Nonaka
      • Stage 2 Nonaka to Kumano Hongu Taishi
      • Stage 3 Kogumotori-goe route: Ukegawa to Koguchi
      • Stage 4 Ogumotori-goe route: Koguchi to Kumano Nachi Taisha
  • Koyasan
    • Route 3 Kohechi route
      • Stage 1 Koyasan to Omata
      • Stage 2 Omata to Miura-guchi
      • Stage 3 Miura-guchi to Yanagimoto-bashi suspension bridge
      • Stage 4 Yanagimoto-bashi suspension bridge to Kumano Hongu Taisha
  • Iseji route
    • Route 5 Magose-toge Pass
    • Route 6 Matsumoto-toge Pass
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A Facilities tables
    • Appendix B Glossary
    • Appendix C Useful contacts
    • Appendix D Further Reading

We Like

  • Well set out and easy to follow
  • Allows you to do the detailed planning for this trip
  • A good balance of text/maps/photos that are all relevant and not just space fillers
  • A good size book that won’t take up a lot of space in your pack. Cicerone’s size format is well thought out

We Don't Like

  • I would have appreciated a basic index but realise this would have added extra weight and pages
  • The bird/animal identifications, and plant identifications are a bit light on

Buy One

You can purchase Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Book from Amazon Australia or Amazon USA

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!


AUD $30.38 RRP

Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage front cover

Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage back cover

Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route summary table

Japan’s Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Koechi Route

Part of the Nakahechi route map

Part of the Nakahechi route map close up

Town map and information for Hongu


This review was done with product provided for review by the publisher

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