About the Kumano Kodo Storyteller guides
Our Storyteller Guides
Introducing some of the Storyteller guides.
Ms. Miki Fukuda
“There must be a reason behind why I came to Kumano.” If this thought has ever come to you, how about getting a storyteller guide to walk with you on the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route? The beautiful stone paths of Iseji route that remain to this day pave the way that ancient pilgrims used to take on their pilgrimage from Ise Grand Shrine to the Kumano Sanzan. The evergreen of the mountains and the clear blue waters of the sea will calm your hearts, and you will be awed by the power held by the towering rocks that have stood since ancient times. This is a path that will rejuvenate and heal your soul as you feel the weight of your heart slowly lift on your walk. We will do our best to provide you with an enriching experience that will make you want to come back for more.
We, who have a wealth of knowledge about Iseji, the path of the gods, invite you to visit the sacred Shingu Hayatama Shrine. Do enjoy and immerse yourself in the spiritual energy of Kumano.
Ms. Matsuyo Kawamura
Kumano is home to both the seas and the mountains, as well as the Kumano Kodo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kumano Kodo Iseji Route which we will bring you on, is one that connects the sacred lands of Ise and Kumano. Getting a storyteller guide to walk with you will definitely enhance your experience of Kumano. We look forward to having you walk with us.
Mr. Hiroyasu Mukai
Kannon-michi, Matsumoto-toge Pass, and Obuki-toge pass used to be my playground when I was little. I have a strong emotional attachment to the Kumano Kodo, and I have also been involved in conservation activities of the Kannon-michi trail twice a month for the past 16 years. I will share some local folklore and introduce the history, highlights, and unique flora of the Kumano Kodo on my walk with you.
Mr. Hiroaki Nishio
The Kumano Kodo was a pilgrimage trail for the Kumano Sanzan in the past, but has also become a therapeutic walk for people in the modern era. Enjoy the rich history and nature here as you embark on your journey. Having a storyteller guide accompany you on your hike will definitely enrich your experience further.
Hiring a Storyteller Guide for the Kumano Kodo (Iseji Trail)
If you wish to hire a storyteller guide on the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route, please read the terms and conditions and fill in the online form, or print the attached form and fill it in before faxing it to the Higashi-kishu Regional Promotion Office (0597-89-6184). For those do not have access to a fax machine, please use the following form to submit your application.
*Visitors who wish to hire a storyteller guide should do so at least 2 weeks in advance. If there is less than 2 weeks left to the date of your hike, please contact the office directly to enquire if there are vacancies.
After receiving your application, the office will contact you regarding the details of your storyteller guide via fax around one week before the date of your hike. After this, you should contact your guide directly to discuss details of the trip.
English-speaking guides are available for the following routes: Tsuzurato-toge Pass, Magose-toge Pass, Mount Yakiyama, Miki-toge and Hago-toge Passes, Sone-Jirozaka-Tarozaka Pass, Hadasu-no-michi and Obuki-toge Pass, Kannon-michi, Matsumoto-toge Pass, Tori-toge Pass. For those who wish to have their hikes guided in English, please write in the remarks section of the form that you wish to hire an English-speaking storyteller guide.
*Please contact the Miyagawa Basin Renaissance Council to hire guides for the Meki-toge Pass and Misesaka-toge Pass routes.
Things to take note of when hiring a storyteller guide for the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route:
These are the following routes for which storyteller guides are available.
Kihoku Area Supported language 1 Nisaka-toge Pass Kihoku Town Japanese 2 Tsuzurato-toge Pass Kihoku Town Japanese, English 3 Ikkoku-toge・Hirakata-toge・Kumagaya-michi (Miura-toge Pass) Kihoku Town Japanese, English 4 Hajikami-toge Pass Kihoku Town Japanese 5 Magose-toge Pass Kihoku Town～Owase City Japanese, English 6 Mt. Yakiyama - goe Owase City Japanese, English 7 Miki-toge Pass・Hago-toge Pass Owase City Japanese, English 8 Sone Jiro-zaka Taro-zaka Owase City～Kumano City Japanese, English Kinan Area Supported language 9 Nigishima-toge・Okamizaka-toge Pass Kumano City Japanese 10 Hadasu-no-Michi・Obuki-toge Pass Kumano City Japanese, English 11 Kannon-michi * Include Daikan-shishigaki-michi Kumano City Japanese, English 12 Matsumoto-toge Pass・Hana-no-Iwaya Kumano City Japanese, English 13 Yokogaki-toge Pass Mihama Town Japanese 14 Fuden-toge Pass Kumano City～Mihama Town Japanese 15 Tori-toge Pass Kumano City Japanese, English 16 Hamakaido(North) Kumano City～Mihama Town Japanese 17 Hamakaido(South) Mihama Town～Kiho Town Japanese
The basic fees to hire one guide (which includes transportation, gas, phone charges) is 5,000 yen per mountain pass. Please pay your guide directly in cash after the hike. However, do note that the fees for Yakiyama route (6) will be 10,000 yen. In the case that you wish to hike to 2 mountain passes in a day, this will cost 10,000 yen. (If one of the 2 mountain passes includes the Yakiyama route, this will be 15,000 yen.) The fees will be the same for hikes guided in English.
The Kumano Kodo Kataribe Guide Association’s main activities are explaining the history behind the Kumano Kodo and its historical sites. We do not offer guiding services for sports trekking and mountain climbing, so please be responsible for your own safety, and walk at the same pace as your guide.
Please submit this form at least 2 weeks in advance before the date of your hike. Please also make sure you discuss and confirm with your guide where and what time to meet at least one day before the date of your hike.
Please make sure all members of your group wear comfortable shoes, are dressed in suitable attire for hiking, and bring rain gear. Also please make sure that all your phones are fully charged before starting the hike, and if you have one, bring along a hiking pole that you are used to using.
Please make sure you have one tour conductor on each bus so that you can enjoy a safe hike. You should not have more than 20 people in a group following one storyteller guide.
If you choose to go ahead with the hike despite bad weather on the day itself, it may lead to terrible accidents happening. In case of possible bad weather, please discuss with the office or with your guide and reconsider whether you should proceed with the hike.
Please make sure you allow for ample buffer time in your itinerary. This is especially important at the end of your hike, as if you plan to leave the mountains in the evening when it gets dark, this may cause a fair amount of stress, and could be potentially dangerous.
We may have trainee guides tag along with your guide. We will let you know at least a day in advance if this is the case.