When visiting Wakayama and the mountainous Kii Peninsula, time constraints and logistics often leave visitors with the difficult decision of choosing between the mountaintop temple town Koyasan or the pilgrimage routes and sacred sites of Kumano. With a daily bus link now operating between Wakayama's top spots, you don't have to miss out on either.
With a daily bus service direct from Kansai International Airport in the peak summer and autumn seasons, Koyasan is more accessible than ever before. Buses leave the airport in the late morning and drop off in Koyasan in the early afternoon. The journey takes just two hours and tickets can be purchased online.
If your flight doesn't arrive until the afternoon, hop on a bus to Wakayama City and catch a train from there. Alternatively, you can take a train into Osaka and connect to a Gokurakubashi/Koyasan-bound bus from Namba Station.
For handy travel tips and more information on getting to Koyasan, see our detailed Koyasan itinerary.
2 Temple Stay
To find the best temple for you, check with the Koyasan Shukubo Association.
Option: Kongobu-ji Head Temple
Pilgrimage routes run through Wakayama connecting Koyasan and the sacred sites of Kumano, but now there is also a bus service reducing travel time from several days to just a few hours.
Buses leave from Koyasan Station each morning, with an afternoon service provided on weekends. The journey to Kumano takes a little under five hours and includes several short stops. It is necessary to change buses twice, but your ticket is valid for the entire journey.
For more information on the Kumano area and hot spring hamlets such as Yunomine Onsen, see our detailed Kumano itinerary.
4 Ryokan Stay
5 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route
A detailed trail map is available on the Kumano Tourism Bureau's website.
6 Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine
7 Kumano Washi Paper Otonashi
8 Kumano Hongu Heritage Center: Cycling
After visiting Hongu, make your next stop Shingu, home to Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine. Buses bound for Shingu can be picked up from Yunomine and the other nearby hot spring hamlets as well as from the stop in front of Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine. Services run most frequently in the morning.