In 2010, Oku Japan pioneered self-guided walking tours in Japan’s Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo regions. Since then we have continued to build on this strong foundation as leading experts in sustainable off-the-beaten-path self-guided tours in Japan, and now offer a range of tours featuring not only walking, but cycling, kayaking and other cultural experiences across the country.
We focus on destinations with historical and spiritual value that create a story for your journey. We began tours incorporating the best walks of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage and cycling through the changing cultures of the islands on the Seto Inland Sea, and will continue to bring you closer to the heart and soul of Japan. Discover the country at your own pace with our detailed maps and walking instructions. Everything else - from rail tickets to accommodations - are all organised by us, so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying excellent local home-cooked meals and world class hospitality.
Japan is a wonderful destination for anyone to visit, from families to solo travellers too, with outstanding public transportation and safety, as well as a member of our local team available to help 24/7. Our self-guided tours give you the flexibility to alter content to fit in with your overall travel plans, so allow us to welcome you to Japan.
In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way - the road through the central mountains - a network of ancient highways.
We offer tours with 3, 4 and 5 days of walking village to village along the Nakasendo Trail, the old route linking Kyoto with Tokyo inland through the mountains. Walking is mainly gentle and passes through rural scenery and villages, including the exquisitely-preserved settlements of Magome and Tsumago.
The Kii Peninsula points south away from Kyoto and Osaka and is one of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, despite its proximity to these great cities. Long a place of pilgrimage, the Kii Peninsula is the site of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan).
- Our Kumano Kodo self-guided tours offer 4, 5, or 6 days walking village to village along the old pilgrimage route heading west to east along the Kii-peninsula.
- Our Kumano to Koya self-guided tour offers 5 days of walking village to village along another wonderful section of the pilgrimage route leading from Kumano Hongu Taisha Shine to the spiritual Mount Koya, from south to north.
- Our Kumano Kodo Complete self-guided tours, taking in both the Nakahechi and Kohechi trails, with lengths of 9 or 11 days.
Shikoku is Japan's fourth-largest island, home to some of the country's most spectacular and undeveloped scenery. The island is also the setting for an ancient walking trail, the challenging Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage. The trail connects 88 Buddhist temples and the full walk covers more than a thousand kilometres.
We have selected the best walks and the best accommodation, including Shukubo pilgrims lodgings and fine inns in appealing cities such as Tokushima and Dogo Onsen. We offer tours with 5, 8 and 10 days of walking on the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage.
On our self-guided walking tours you need to be reasonably fit and carry the correct gear. Our walks are not technically difficult and are mostly on village paths and forested trails which are generally well-maintained and well-signposted. English may not be widely spoken in rural areas, but you will have wonderful memories of staying at small country inns with your hosts and seeing Japan at your own pace.
Walk on the loveliest parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodgings and the natural baths of Dogo Onsen and Iya Valley
Follow scenic Wakasa bay; the central gateway to the Japan Sea, learning how the flow of water has informed the flora, the fauna and the way of life here, with five gentle hikes or cycles of two to four hours
Learn the festival culture of Tokushima, the Awajishima Island creation myth, and the historic trade route to Kobe, with four gentle hikes of 3-5 hours
Trail walking in the mountains of West Shiga and Fukui prefectures, with four hikes of 1-6 hours