A Journey of the Soul through the Kii Peninsula
Stretching across three prefectures—Mie, Wakayama and Nara—Kii Peninsula is the largest peninsula in Japan. The Kii Peninsula is home to Kumano and Ise, both known for their long histories as pilgrimage centers on the Kumano Kodo, paths that lead to sacred sites in the region. From walking along historic pilgrimage trails to learning the unique methods of collecting seafood in the nature-rich waters of Ise-Shima, the Kii Peninsula is the ideal destination to learn about the culture and traditions of this part of Japan.
- 1Yuasa Soy Sauce
- 3Kumano Kodo
- 4Shima Nature School
- 5Iga Kumihimo Center
Appreciating the Flavor
Begin your journey in Wakayama by exploring the downtown area and beautiful Wakayama castle. After your stroll around town, visit Yuasa, a town developed by soy sauce-making over many centuries—thought to be the birthplace of Japanese soy sauce. The streets lined with traditional wooden townhouses and warehouses fill the air with the aroma of the popular condiment. On a tour of the factory of Yuasa Soy Sauce, a long-established soy sauce maker located in Yuasa, you can witness the traditional methods used to create their exquisite soy sauce, made with long fermentation and maturation periods.
Deep in the Waters
On your second day in Wakayama, head south to Kushimoto, the southernmost tip of Honshu. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Kushimoto is a spectacular diving destination with over 100 types of bright-colored corals and a variety of underwater creatures to see. You can also stop by the Nanki Kumano Geopark Center and take a look at the local landscapes and learn the geographical history of the area.
Start your next day with a 60-minute drive north to visit the Kumano Nachi Taisha in Wakayama Prefecture--one of the three great shrines of Kumano Sanzan. As one of the significant locations to the story of the origins of Japan, Nachi is a majestic destination surrounded by blissful nature. Starting at the entrance of Daimonzaka, the lush, serene trail once traipsed by ancient pilgrims will lead you to historic sites, including the Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine situated by the majestic Nachi Falls. Once you finish your hike, drive further up north to the Kumano Kodo Center to learn about the history of the world heritage Kumano Kodo. Hit the town at night for local delicacies such as fresh seafood, and recharge for the next day!
A Paddle through Paradise
Spend the fourth day of your trip getting active in the unique atmosphere created by the beautiful landscapes of Ise-Shima. Start off the day by sea kayaking through the islands of Ago Bay, famed for its rias coastline, where islands and peninsulas of various shapes create a shoreline that is unlike others. The crystal clear waters and ever-changing scenery will keep you endlessly captivated. You can then take a visit to the ama huts to meet the ama, or female free-divers, collecting seafood with methods passed on for decades. Have a chat with the ama divers while feasting on an unforgettable meal of the fresh and tasty seafood they have caught.
Braided Cords of Warriors
The last day of your trip takes you to the Iga region. Your first stop of the day will be a workshop where you can try your hand at making a traditional local craft called kumihimo—colorful, silk-braided cords that were used as decorations for swords and armor in the past. Your own handmade kumihimo will make a perfect souvenir to take home with you. After that, sneak into the secret world of what Iga is famous for: ninjas! Hone your skills by learning the ways of the shinobi at a ninja village!
It's time to say our final farewells to Wakayama and Mie. From the unique local culture to the breathtaking sceneries, the two prefectures are a place for encounters to wonderful aspects exclusive to the area. Come and find another side of yourself at the homeland of beautiful sacred sites.
The contents of this page are meant as an example to use in creating your travel plans and do not represent a package tour. Lodgings, travel, guides, and all other accommodations must be arranged for by the traveler.