The rugged and mountainous Kohechi route cuts through the centre of the Kii Peninsula from north to south for 70km, linking the Buddhist temple complex of Koyasan and the Kumano Hongu Shrine. It has fewer hikers and accommodation than the Nakahechi route and is characterised by steep trails that cross over three passes of over 1000 meters elevation.
The Kohechi is an isolated walk on its northern sections and hikers should be well prepared when attempting it. Accommodations are rarely found without zigzagging up and down the mountainsides into valley towns, greatly increasing the distance travelled. Kohechi was traditionally used mainly by Buddhist monks of the Shugendo sect at Koyasan following a rigorous spiritual regime.
This route is not suitable for novice hikers and should only be attempted by fit and experienced mountain walkers that have got Japanese language skills.
RAW Travel books limited arrangements on the Kohechi route. Why? There is very limited infrastructure and signage in English, accommodation is not always on the trail, no baggage transfers are available and maps are available only in Japanese. For these reasons, we don't often book people on the Kohechi route.
We do have an itinerary that includes a day of walking on the Kohechi route included as part of a walk along the Nakahechi Trail though, so if this might be of interest please see our Kumano Kodo extended walk on rawtravel.com
You should allow 4 days walk to get from Koyasan to Kumano Hongu Taisha on the following schedule:
Day 1: Koyasan to Omata (16.8 km)
Day 2: Omata to Miura-guchi (18.7 km)
Day 3: Miura-guchi to Totsukawa Onsen (19.2 km)
Day 4: Totsukawa Onsen to Kumano Hongu (15.2 km)