Nakahechi – Day 2 – Chikatsuyu to Hongu Taisha

  • Nakahechi route
  • Day 2 – Chikatsuyu to Hongu Taisha, 26km
  • Accommodation: Minshuku Omuraya in Kawayu Onsen, ¥9600 incl dinner and breakfast

Today’s stage felt like three very distinct parts:

  1. The first 7km from Chikatsuyu until marker #40 was road-walking so even though it was predominantly uphill, it was fast. After 4km I passed Tsugizakura-oji (with two places to stay) and thought with hindsight, this would be a better location to stay on the first night to break these two stages up more evenly. There’s a fresh-water spring in Tsugizakura called Nonaka-no-Shimizu so I was able to refill my water bottle here. Then shortly after passing through Tsugizakura, I came across a peeing-boy sculpture cooling off drinks for sale outside a house.

2. The second part from marker #40 along the detour to Yukawa-oji was the hardest part of the day involving a long, steep climb with terrific views, and two snake-sightings!

3. The third section from Hosshinmon-oji to Hongu Taisha was the easiest and widest path of the day, with two stunning viewpoints. The first at Fushiogami-oji is the first view pilgrims would have of Hongu, and the second with a slight loop detour off the trail, was a beautiful view of Oyunohara Giant Torii Gate – the largest torii gate in the world and the original site of the Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine (before it got partially washed away in a flood in the 1800s and moved uphill to its current location).

My accommodation for tonight is in Kawayu Onsen which is one of the three onsen areas close to Hongu Taisha, the other two are Yunomine and Wataze. There’s a 3km trail connecting Yunomine with Hongu but for Kawayu and Wataze (and Yunomine if you’re tired), the easiest way is to catch the bus from Hongu. It’s ¥300 between Hongu and any of these three onsen resorts so after spending time at Hongu Taisha and Oyunohara, I caught the 4.58pm bus to Kawayu Onsen. Dinner was another incredible feast and I especially loved the Kumano beef which I got to cook myself on the small candle-burning grill.

13 responses to “Nakahechi – Day 2 – Chikatsuyu to Hongu Taisha

  1. This is fabulous. You inspired me to walk the Portuguese Camino last year, now this. I’m planning to follow you in July.
    Q. Do you book your accommodation in advance.
    Q. If I walked for around 3 weeks, would it be feasible to end my journey and return to Tokyo. That is are the towns mostly linked to transport.
    Q. Are there many other Pilgrims on this track.
    Sorry for the questions. Keep safe and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome!!
      On the Nakahechi route it does help to book accommodation in advance but July isn’t high season (spring and autumn is) so it might be ok. If you were going to book, I’d recommend staying in Tsugizakura (half way between Takijiri and Hongu) and at Shizen no ie in Koguchi which is half way between Hongu and Nachi.
      The closest intl airport to Wakayama is Kansai airport but I also flew into Tokyo and just took the bullet train to Shin Osaka then changed onto an express train to Tanabe. Other than along the Kohechi trail there’s good transport links to busses and trains.
      I saw heaps of pilgrims on the Nakahechi trail but so many on the other trails. It’s the most popular because it has the best infrastructure and English signs.
      If you like mountains you’ll absolutely love it out there! Challenging but rewarding!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. great to see your posts again.. you inspired me to do the Portuguese Camino which I did in 2015 at the age of 65…I’m following this closely as it too could be a possibility…wishing you happy travels

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Are enjoying reading your post from the Nakahechi trail. Six of us (husband, son, daughter and respective partners) are looking at doing this next April. The kids are worried about the severity of this walk. My husband and I have walked the Camino Frances, albeit 6 years ago, how does it compare, fitness wise and elevation to that. Your info of breaking up some stages are great as we have a week up our sleeve. The accommodation, beforehand, was that done on or through the pilgrim website. I don’t like booking in advanced as I like to go with flow, like we did on the camino, but you say it’s busy, that time of year


    • Hi Vicki,
      The Camino Frances is quite different as it’s a much longer walk but for the most part, quite flat. In comparison, the Kumano Kodo is fundamentally along forest / mountain trails, often with uneven and slippery surfaces (tree roots / mossy rocks) with much greater elevation differences – you might want to check out the elevation profiles on my blog.
      The first time I walked the Kumano Kodo I booked all of my accommodation through the Kumano travel website (run by the Tanabe Tourist office) and I would definitely recommend booking in advance if walking in spring or autumn. Some accommodation is also listed on Enjoy!


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