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Walking the Iseji Road

Rules for hiking in the Kii Mountain Range

Rules for hiking in the Kii Mountain Range

The UNESCO World Heritage Site “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” is a cultural heritage site that represents the traditional Japanese spirit of revering nature and the universe, in which the root of existence of all creation lies. This spirit has been passed down for centuries in the form of praying to the mountains and forests where gods are believed to dwell in. We promise to abide by the following rules when walking the trails in order to ensure that future generations can enjoy this irreplaceable asset and the blessings it brings us.

1Protect the area as a “Heritage of All Mankind”.

Let us experience and learn about the nature and culture of the Kii mountains, and do our best to pass the wonders of this shared asset on to our future generations.

2Respect the faith of worshipers of long ago.

Many have walked this sacred path to pray since ancient times. Keep their spirits in your heart as you trace their steps on this path.

3Greet others with a smile and warm heart.

Say hello to fellow hikers you meet on the path, and try to engage with the locals as well.

4Protect the local wildlife. Do not remove or introduce animals or vegetation.

The Kii mountain range is home to a variety of species of flora and fauna, all of which are precious gifts from nature. Let us do our best to love and protect nature.

5Plan your trip and equip yourself with ample leeway so as to avoid accidents and mishaps.

You never know what will happen on your journey. There are dangerous sections on the trail, so do plan well and take into consideration the weather, your physical condition, and the equipment you have before setting out. Do not push yourself.

6Stay on paths.

It is extremely dangerous to stray away from the path, and you may also cause damage to nature. Please do not step carelessly on the surrounding nature.

7Prevent forest fires.

You may cause a fire with careless actions like throwing a cigarette butt on the floor. Please be very careful with objects that involve the use of fire.

8Keep the paths clean. Carry all waste back with you.

This trail has been protected and loved by the locals for many generations. Bring any trash home with you, and keep the trail clean.

Preparing to walk the Kumano Kodo

Preparing to walk the Kumano Kodo

What to wear when hiking the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range



Make sure you wear a hat to prevent sunburn and to keep yourself cool.

Long sleeves and long pants

To protect yourself from sunburn and insect bites, please wear a long-sleeved top and long pants. Choose something easy to move around in.

Hiking poles/sticks

Hiking poles and sticks will come in handy on the journey.


Wear comfortable shoes like hiking boots or sneakers. Please do not wear heels!

What should you bring in your backpack?

Lunch box, water, towel, rain gear, insect spray etc.

There are no vending machines on the trail. Please prepare your own water and lunch before setting off.

Things to take note of when walking the trail:

Things to take note of when walking the trail:

Some other things to take note of when walking the Kumano Kodo


Please make sure your phone is fully charged before starting your walk.


There are many hikers who take more time than expected, and get lost when it gets dark.

The time required to get to each point is only an estimate that does not include the time taken for breaks or lunch, so please make sure that you set off early and include plenty of buffer time in your itinerary. Do leave the mountain before it gets dark.


Signposts set up at every pass

Please make sure you know where you are on the trail at all times, and make use of the wooden signposts that are set up every 100m on the trail.

In case of an emergency, contact the police or fire station using the numbers written on the signposts.