When is the best time of year to walk the Kumano Kodo?

The Kumano Kodo is most popular in the spring, partly due to the flowers in the villages etc., which have become quite famous across Japan. As a result spring is lovely but is also the busiest time to walk the Kumano Kodo. Spring is also a time when many of the Japanese choose to walk the Kumano Kodo or parts of it.

My personal favourite time is autumn as the weather is often quite comfortable for walking, and the forrest is beautiful. The Japanese autumn is Sept – November.

Winter is cold and can even snow a little bit across the mountain passes. Whilst the walk and Minshuku’s are generally open, you’ll need to be prepared for a pretty rugged walk at this time, have good dry, warm hiking gear, and a good level of fitness to ensure you comfortably complete each leg of the walk within the daylight hours.

Summer is great, but in this region can be wet, which can add to the adventure and fun of a good outdoor hike in spectacular terrain and scenery, but you do need to be prepared to walk in the rain at times.

In short, my preference in order is the Japanese; 

  1. Autumn (Sept – Nov)
  2. Spring (Mar – May)
  3. Summer (Jun – Aug), then 
  4. Winter (Dec – Feb) 

Hope that helps!