NATIONAL PARK

YOSHINO-KUMANO NATIONAL PARK

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The park rises up high into mountain peaks and dips down into dense woodland valleys. Rapid rivers, beautiful beaches and grand shrines bursting with abundant flora and fauna along the World Heritage Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range make the park a natural playground offering abundant opportunities for wild adventure and spiritual enlightenment.

A natural playground of deep spirituality set in deep green and raging water

The three grand shrines of Kumano-Hayatama, Kumano-Hongu and Kumano-Nachi—known collectively as the Kumano Sanzan—stand at the heart of the park, brilliant red vermillion beacons for pilgrims trekking the arduous Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route on their individual spiritual journeys. The park is also a land of raging water—dropping dramatically in the form of the sacred Nachi Falls and roaring through the Dorokyo Gorge. It flows out into the ocean where divers can come face to face with loggerhead turtles gliding gracefully through vivid coral reefs. The Pacific Ocean then throws the water back at the coastline creating dramatic natural formations including the cliffs and caves or Sandanbeki—hidden hideouts for Heian Era (794-1185) pirates.

All eyes on the Kii Peninsula—Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2018

Making the top ten of Best in Travel 2018: Top Regions—a very select list compiled by trusted global travel commentators Lonely Planet— the Kii Peninsula is garnering international attention for its relatively crowd-free natural scenery, hot springs, traditional culture and modern convenience. The peninsula sits alongside Italy’s Aeolian Islands and France’s Languedoc-Roussillon as lesser known destinations that deserve more notice.

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Spin your wheels

From lung-busting mountain climbs to leisurely local spins—take to two wheels to explore Wakayama more deeply.

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Trek the trails

With no official start point to the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, you can customize your own trek through the mountain trails aiming for one of the Kumano Sanzan.

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Stay the night

Your national park adventure doesn’t need to end when the sun goes down. Deepen your experience by staying at one of the traditional ryokan hotels dotted throughout the park.

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Feel the heat

The geothermal waters that bubble beneath the park gush to the surface creating warming hot-spring pools—and even rivers—for you to wash away all stresses and strains.

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Reach enlightenment

The trekking might be tough, but the pay-off is spiritual rebirth in the presence of grand shrines, thundering waterfalls and natural gods.

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Take to water

Rip-roaring white water and clear, quiet rivers create an ideal environment for a range of water-based activities from stand-up log rafting to scenic boat trips.

Pedal through Wakayama's scenic beauty

Wakayama has spectacular coastal paths and mountain roads that you can now explore on two wheels. World renowned for its mountains, rivers and pilgrimage routes, Wakayama is a cycling kingdom with designated cycling routes that crisscross the prefecture. Courses range from beginner to professional, and each route is dotted with well-equipped Cycle Stations.

Explore Wakayama on two wheels

Wakayama 800 is an expansive project that has opened up 800 kilometers of cycling routes across the prefecture providing two-wheeled access to the area’s spectacular natural scenery. The routes were designed to give professional and casual cyclists alike an opportunity to experience Wakayama's forests, mountains, oceans and rivers, conveniently and safely.

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The deep mountain course

Local food, Mountain roads, Spiritual, Onsen

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Kitayama Course

Gorge, Rafting, Mountain Roads, Onsen, Flowers

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Explore local Wakayama course

Local food, Coast, Spiritual, Stone Staircases, Flowers

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The highlights of Shirahama course

Natural monuments, Wildlife Park, Food, Sunset

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The south coast course

Ocean, River, Natural monuments, Michi-no-Eki (rest stop stations), Flowers

Rent and ride

Bicycle rental centers are dotted around the peninsula so you should be able to find one near to your place of stay. Daily rates, type of bicycle available, and level of English service all vary. Some research into bicycle rental in Wakayama will help you make the best choices to suit your purpose.

Whispered Wisdom of Deep Mountains

The cobbled paths snaking through the jagged mountains and dense forests that make up the spiritual ground of Kumano have been well worn by the soles of pilgrims. Protected by canopies of thick forest, centuries of enlightenment seekers have been privy to the spiritual wisdom whispered through trunk, leaf, rock and water drop.

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Spiritual Awakening via River, Bath and Cobblestone Path

Nature, Treks, Traditional Stay, Onsen, Spiritual, Cruise, Flowers, Birds

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Mountain Villages Mark the Way

Treks, Stay, Mountain Village, Spiritual

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Climb and Fall to Spiritual Encounters

Steep Slopes, Spiritual Encounters, Onsen stays, Veritable Views

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Feel Imperial—the Full Nakahechi Course

Physical challenge, Mountain Village, Steep Slopes, Spiritual Encounters, Veritable Views

Drive Wakayama—from KIX to the coast

Touch down at Kansai International Airport (KIX) and be driving down Wakayama's beautiful coastline within a couple of hours. Hiring a car gives you the freedom to travel across the prefecture, from the spiritual heartland of Koyasan to the retro fishing village of Katsuura.

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Drive Wakayama—from KIX to the coast