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Wakayama Prefecture

Culture & history

Our most recommended Wakayama Prefecture Culture & History

Kumano/Tanabe: Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail Private Tour

1. Kumano/Tanabe: Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail Private Tour

Discover Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trails on a private tour alongside a licensed local guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour option and receive a meet-and-greet service at your accommodation or from the main train station in Kumano or Tanabe. Let your guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. You can also pre-plan your itinerary in advance. Benefit from a guide that holds a Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter Certification issued by the Japanese government, which certifies that your guide holds good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history. Explore an ancient network of pilgrim trails dating back more than 1,000 years connecting historic shrines and temples running through the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. The most popular route, Nakahechi, along which past emperors traveled, crosses the width of the Peninsula from Tanabe town on the west coast to Shingu and Nachi-Katsuura towns on the east. Hikers of all levels can enjoy quiet mountain hamlets and onsens. Popular 6-hour itinerary - Hossinmon-Oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha: Experience a route that is a good mixture of ridge-top settlements and forest trails. Walk through Kumano Kodo to Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine and learn about its history and cultural importance. After lunch, visit the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine, one of the three grand shrines, standing on a small ridgeline in the north of the Hongu village. Admire the 800-year-old austere pavilions that are made of wood with impressive cypress bark roofs which architecture style.

Wakayama: Mt. Koya Private Walking Tour with Local Guide

2. Wakayama: Mt. Koya Private Walking Tour with Local Guide

Explore Mount Koya in your own way with a private licensed guide. Choose the 6 or 4-hour option depending on what fits with your schedule. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. All guides hold the nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification. It is issued by the Japanese government and requires a good understanding of Japanese culture and history. Meet your guide at the station near Mount Koya. The first stop will be Daimon, Koya-san’s main gate. Admire the impressive gate painted in a bright crimson color, and the large statues of guardian gods. Continue to Konpon Daito pagoda to discover Buddhist pictures and murals. Next, head to the Kongobu-ji Temple. Admire the beautiful features and architecture of the complex, such as sliding screens, art adorning the spacious rooms, and the largest rock garden in Japan. Stop for a Shoujin Ryori lunch, and experience vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. Stop at Okuno-in, the most sacred place on Mt. Koya. To reach the shrine, walk over the Ichinohashi Bridge and follow the Sandō path. Explore the famous Toro-do Hall with its "unextinguishable" flame. The final stop will be the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism.

Kumano Kodo: Private Full-Day Pilgrimage Trip

3. Kumano Kodo: Private Full-Day Pilgrimage Trip

Embark on an adventure to see all the key sights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in a single trip. Admire all three shrines and pause at the beautiful Nachi falls to watch water crashing down from 133 meters in the air. After pickup from your hotel, start with a visit to the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine. Learn about the sun goddess Amaterasu at a location which is the head of over 3000 Kumano shrines across Japan. Admire the biggest torii gate in the world which, at 33 meters tall, dwarfs visitors passing under it. Next, head to the Kumano Hayatama Taisha, located in Shingu City. This shrine has occupied the same spot on the Kumano Riverbank since at least the 12th century. Learn about the Shinto creation myth which claims how three deities descended to earth nearby. Head back in the vehicle for the drive to Kumano Nachi Taisha, located near the coastal hot spring Katsuura. Admire the fusion of Buddhist and Shinto influences that is particular to the Kumano region. Finish your pilgrimage with a stop at Nachi Falls, Be awed by Japan's tallest waterfall with a single uninterrupted drop of 133 meters. Feel the power of a sacred site where a ton of water drops down the cliff every second.

Kansai-Hiroshima JR & Bus Pass

4. Kansai-Hiroshima JR & Bus Pass

Explore the Kansai region, the spiritual heart of Japan which is home to some of the country's most interesting cities. Once you’ve picked up your pass, you’ll be able to ride the JR West railways and buses throughout the Kansai region down to Hiroshima.  Discover the vibrant city of Osaka and its amazing food scene. Visit the ancient temples and shrines of Kyoto. See Nara's natural beauty, try the beef in Kobe, visit Himeji castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or connect with nature in the forests and waterfalls of Wakayama. Walk the UNESCO Kumano Kodo in Kishi, admire the best dunes in Tottori, relax in the Kinosaki Onsen's hot spring, or take amazing photos in the top Japanese garden of Okayama's Korakuen.  Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Atomic Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima by ferry. Take the road-less traveled and use the JR West bus network to see cities such as Kyoto, Shiga, Tsuruga, and Iga-Ueno.

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