Discover the beauty of Japan your own way

Japan Self-guided Tours

In 2010, Oku Japan pioneered self-guided walking tours in Japan’s Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo regions. Since then we have continued to build on this strong foundation as leading experts in sustainable off-the-beaten-path self-guided tours in Japan, and now offer a range of tours featuring not only walking, but cycling, kayaking and other cultural experiences across the country. 

We focus on destinations with historical and spiritual value that create a story for your journey. We began tours incorporating the best walks of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage and cycling through the changing cultures of the islands on the Seto Inland Sea, and will continue to bring you closer to the heart and soul of Japan. Discover the country at your own pace with our detailed maps and walking instructions. Everything else - from rail tickets to accommodations - are all organised by us, so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying excellent local home-cooked meals and world class hospitality.

Japan is a wonderful destination for anyone to visit, from families to solo travellers too, with outstanding public transportation and safety, as well as a member of our local team available to help 24/7. Our self-guided tours give you the flexibility to alter content to fit in with your overall travel plans, so allow us to welcome you to Japan.


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.

View all self-guided Nakasendo tours
Kumano Kodo

Kumano Kodo TrailThe 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 heading west to east along the Kii-peninsula.
- Our Kumano to Koya self-guided tour offers 5 days of walking village to village along another wonderful section of the pilgrimage route leading from Kumano Hongu Taisha Shine to the spiritual Mount Koya, from south to north.
- Our Kumano Kodo Complete self-guided tours, taking in both the Nakahechi and Kohechi trails, with lengths of 9 or 11 days.

View all self-guided Kumano Kodo tours
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

O-henro pilgrimsShikoku 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. We offer tours with 4, 6, 8 and 10 days of walking on the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage.

View all self-guided Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage tours

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.

Self-Guided

Cycling Lake Biwa: self-guided 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Moderate

Cycle through historic cultural landscapes and secluded rural villages around Japan's most iconic lake close to Kyoto.

USD 1555
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Self-Guided

Eastern Hokkaido self-guided 5 Days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Moderate

Explore the dramatic nature and indigenous culture of Japan's second largest island

USD 1650
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Self-Guided

Eastern Hokkaido self-guided 8 Days

  • Duration: 8 days
  • Level: Moderate

Experience the hidden local culture of northern Japan

USD 2505
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Self-Guided

Hiroshima & Shimanami Kaido self-guided 6 Days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Active

Enjoy the slow island life on the Setouchi Inland Sea with cycling, kayaking and walking

USD 1845
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Self-Guided

Hiroshima, Shimanami & Shikoku self-guided 9 Days

  • Duration: 9 days
  • Level: Active

Explore the peaceful Setouchi Inland Sea with cycling and kayaking before walking on lovely parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Ehime

USD 2725
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Self-Guided

Hokkaido Winter 7 days: Lake Akan to Shiretoko

  • Duration: 7 days
  • Level: Moderate

Self-guided Eastern Hokkaido's winter landscapes and wildlife

USD 2105
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Self-Guided

Japan Alps Winter 6 days: Nagano and Gifu

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Active

Self-guided winter tour through the Japan Alps, with snowshoeing, numerous Onsen hot springs and a local culinary experience

USD 1935
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Self-Guided

Japan Cultural Tour: Takayama to Kiso Valley

  • Duration: 9 days
  • Level: Moderate

An experiential journey through Japan's diverse culture-rich landscapes

USD 3275
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Self-Guided

Kochi Self-Guided Cycling 6 Days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Active

A rewarding cycle along the sea, mountains and rivers of Shikoku’s southern Kochi region

USD 2030
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Self-Guided

Kumano Kodo Complete self-guided walking 11 days

  • Duration: 11 days
  • Level: Strenuous

The full Kumano Kodo pilgrimage experience to Mount Koya. See the Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi while walking the full Nakahechi and Kohechi route, with wonderful views over the valleys, mountains and the Pacific Ocean

USD 2315
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Self-Guided

Experience a full Kumano Kodo pilgrimage experience to Mount Koya, walking along the Nakahechi and Kohechi routes, ending with an authentic stay at a Shukubo pilgrims lodging on Mount Koya

USD 1905
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Self-Guided

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 4 days

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: Active

Walk along the wonderful Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo Trail ending at Hayatama Shrine.

USD 995
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Self-Guided

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Strenuous

Experience the Nakahechi route walking from Takijiri to Nachi waterfall, visiting the Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi along the way

USD 1210
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Self-Guided

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 6 days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Strenuous

Travel along the full Nakahechi route on the enchanting Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, experience Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi and bathe in the thermal waters at a hot-spring Ryokan

USD 1455
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Self-Guided

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking Upgrade 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Strenuous

Walk in Nara and on highlight sections on the Kumano Kodo, experiencing the best inns and local food in the Kumano region

USD 2270
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Self-Guided

Kumano to Koya self-guided walking 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Strenuous

Hike the challenging Kohechi route of the ancient Kumano Kodo trail, from Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine to Mount Koya, enjoying wonderful views over valleys and mountains each day

USD 1185
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Self-Guided

Nakasendo and Kamikochi walking 10 days

  • Duration: 10 days
  • Level: Active

Explore the Nakasendo trail before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore the biodiverse Kamikochi, ending with excellent hiking and Onsen in Oku-Nikko

USD 2940
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Self-Guided

Nakasendo and Kamikochi walking 6 days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Active

Enjoy the best forest walks and Juku post towns of the Nakaendo Trail, before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore Kamikochi before arriving in iconic Takayama.

USD 1640
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Self-Guided

Nakasendo self-guided walking 3 days

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Level: Active

Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai over 3 days of walking in the picturesque Kiso Valley

USD 1005
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Self-Guided

Nakasendo self-guided walking 4 days

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: Active

Walking over 4 days in the picturesque Kiso Valley with overnight stays in Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai

USD 1175
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Self-Guided

Nakasendo self-guided walking 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Active

Village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail, before visiting Matsumoto with it's historic castle and onward to picturesque Karuizawa

USD 1425
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Self-Guided

Nara Ancient Capitals self-guided walking 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Active

Explore the historic and culturally significant hiking trails of lesser-known Kansai

USD 1165
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Self-Guided

Nikko and Self-guided Walking in Yumoto Onsen

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: Moderate

Explore historic Nikko and hike in the beautiful Oku Nikko plains around Yumoto Onsen

USD 1165
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Self-Guided

Noto Peninsula self-guided cycling 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Active

Ride from peaceful mountain roads to breathtaking coastal trails and seaside villages on this 5 day self-paced cycling tour

USD 1695
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Self-Guided

Noto Peninsula self-guided cycling 6 days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Active

Explore Kanazawa through the wonderful Kenrokuen Garden and the fascinating Omicho food market before heading onward for five days of road cycling through dramatic coasts and seaside villages

USD 1880
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Self-Guided

Noto Peninsula self-guided cycling 7 days

  • Duration: 7 days
  • Level: Active

Explore the atmospheric Noto Peninsula with Six days of road cycling, experiencing unique cuisine, delightful onsen hot-springs and atmospheric fishing towns along a breathtaking coastal trail.

USD 2065
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Self-Guided

Walk on the loveliest parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodgings and the natural baths of Dogo Onsen

USD 2205
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Self-Guided

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 4 days

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: Active

Abundant nature, and varied temples with walks on sections of the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku

USD 1325
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Self-Guided

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Challenging

The trail towards enlightenment

USD 1380
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Self-Guided

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 6 days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Strenuous

Walk on the best parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima and Kagawa, enjoying wonderful views over cedar forests and rural villages

USD 1425
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Self-Guided

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 8 days

  • Duration: 8 days
  • Level: Challenging

Walks parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodging with days of up to 8 hours of hiking

USD 2030
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Self-Guided

Shoguns and Samurai self-guided 14 days

  • Duration: 14 days
  • Level: Moderate

A scenic journey through Japan's cultural highlights

USD 4000
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Self-Guided

The beautiful villages of Northern Kyoto

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Active

Explore the beautiful thatched-roof houses of Miyama village, the enchanting port town of Ine-cho, and relax in the Onsens of Miyazu and Kinosaki to the north of Kyoto

USD 1480
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