Discover the beauty of Japan your own way

Self-guided Tours

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Leave the preparations to us and enjoy a side of Japan that few visitors have a chance to experience.

Discover Japan your own way on an Oku Japan self-guided tour. Choose from a self-guided version of our cultural tour Shoguns and Samurai, or a wide choice of walking trips along the historic trails of Japan. We supply train tickets for the tours, together with maps and detailed instructions. We pre-book and pre-pay your stays at comfortable Japanese inns with excellent local home-cooked food for dinner and breakfast.

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Self-Guided Tours Kumano Kodo Self-Guided Tours Nakasendo Trail Self-Guided Tours

Nakasendo Trail

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.

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Kumano Kodo

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. The trail passes through dramatic scenery, tiny hamlets and leads to important historic shrines.

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Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

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.

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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.

Ancient Capitals self-guided walking 5 days

Ancient Capitals self-guided walking 5 days

Explore highlights of the Kansai region, home to the historic capitals of Kyoto, Nara and Asuka. This tour includes historic and culturally significant hiking trails, as well as overnight stays in wonderful traditional accommodation in Asuka and Nara, providing authentic Japanese meals and outstanding 'Omotenashi' service

Nakasendo self-guided walking 3 days

Nakasendo self-guided walking 3 days

Walk the loveliest sections of the Nakasendo Trail. Start from Kyoto or from Tokyo, spend 2 nights on the Nakasendo trail and travel onwards to Kyoto or to Tokyo

Nakasendo self-guided walking 4 days

Nakasendo self-guided walking 4 days

Walk the loveliest sections of the Nakasendo Trail. Start from Kyoto or from Tokyo, spend 3 nights on the Nakasendo trail and travel onwards to Kyoto or to Tokyo

Nakasendo self-guided walking 5 days

Nakasendo self-guided walking 5 days

Walk the loveliest sections of the Nakasendo Trail. Start from Kyoto or from Tokyo, spend 4 nights on the Nakasendo trail and travel onwards to Tokyo

Nakasendo self-guided walking 10 days

Nakasendo self-guided walking 10 days

Walk the loveliest sections of the Nakasendo Trail, with city stays in standard-grade hotels and one day of private guiding in Kyoto. Start in Kyoto for 3 nights, spend 4 nights on the Nakasendo trail and finish with two nights in Tokyo

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 4 days

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 4 days

A rewarding hike through the Kii Peninsula mountains on an ancient pilgrimage trail. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 3 nights on the Kumano Kodo trail and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 5 days

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 5 days

A rewarding hike through the Kii Peninsula mountains on an ancient pilgrimage trail. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 4 nights on the Kumano Kodo trail and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 6 days

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 6 days

A rewarding hike through the Kii Peninsula mountains on an ancient pilgrimage trail. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 5 nights on the Kumano Kodo trail and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 9 days

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 9 days

A rewarding hike through the Kii Peninsula mountains on an ancient pilgrimage trail, with city stays in standard-grade hotels and one day of private guiding in Kyoto. Start in Kyoto for 2 nights, spend 5 nights on the Kumano Kodo trail and finish with a night in Osaka

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 4 days

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 4 days

Abundant nature, varied temples, one of Japan’s most venerable hot-spring towns and delicious traditional cuisine walking on sections of the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Ehime Prefecture in north-west Shikoku. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 3 nights on Shikoku with 4 days of hiking, and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days

A hike through spectacular scenery, with beautiful temples, terrific Onsen baths and delicious traditional cuisine on the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Tokushima and Kagawa Prefectures at the north-east tip of Shikoku Island. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 4 nights on Shikoku (with 4 days of hiking) and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 6 days

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 6 days

A hike through spectacular scenery, with beautiful temples, terrific Onsen baths and delicious traditional cuisine on the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Tokushima and Kagawa Prefectures at the north-east tip of Shikoku Island. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 5 nights on Shikoku (with up to 5 days of hiking) and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 8 days

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 8 days

Spectacular scenery, beautiful temples, terrific hot-spring baths and delicious traditional cuisine on the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage on Shikoku, combining our walks in the north-east and the north-west of the island. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 7 nights on Shikoku in Tokushima/Kagawa Prefectures and in Ehime Prefecture with 8 days of hiking, and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 10 days

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 10 days

Spectacular scenery, beautiful temples, terrific hot-spring baths and delicious traditional cuisine on the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage on Shikoku, combining our walks in the north-east and the north-west of the island. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 9 nights on Shikoku with 9 days of hiking, and return to Kyoto or Osaka

Shoguns and Samurai self-guided 14 days