Known for its steep slopes and stone pavements, this beautiful section of the Nakahechi route takes you along mountain passes and through deep forest. Pass by statues and supplementary shrines as you climb up to a night’s rest in a misty village perched on a mountain ridge top and a picturesque village in a valley.
Small settlements nestled in the mountains
Follow in pilgrims’ footsteps
Tips: Fly to Nanki-Shirahama airport to begin your exploration of Wakayama. Japan Airlines offers affordable domestic fares with the JAL Japan Explorer Pass. The easy-to-use English website makes booking flights very easy.
Take the bus from Kii-Tanabe Station to the trailhead of Takijiri—the start point for your trek. The bus journey takes around 40 minutes. Grab an early lunch to fuel up before boarding the bus as there are no places to stop off and eat once you set foot on the cobblestone paths. Aim to arrive at Takijiri by early afternoon. Once you step foot off the bus, check into the information center to find out about the history of the ancient pilgrimage routes.
3 Overnight in Takahara
After breakfast, head back out into the forest and continue your trek on the mountain paths heading for the Gyuba-doji Statue. The path climbs and falls as you wander through the remains of an ancient teahouse and breaks in the forest that give you great views of the mountainscape. The Michi-no-Eki—roadside stop—is located near the end of this stage of your trek presenting an opportunity for a lunch break.
4 Gyuba-doji Statue
5 Chikatsuyu Village
7 Nonaka-no-Shimizu Spring
8 Ryokan Stay
Whether you are planning to explore other areas of Wakayama Prefecture or move on to destinations further afield, the local bus will take you to the hub stations of Shingu, Kii-Katsuura, Kii-Tanabe, and Shirahama Airport. The Kuroshio Express train stops at these hubs and connect with Osaka and Kyoto, and the airport has daily flights to Tokyo.