Introduction to Kumano

Hello, everybody! How are you doing?

Today, I want to introduce you “Kumano Sanzan” and “Kumano Kodo”.

The “Kumano Sanzan” is a collective term for the three Grand Shrines: Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha. It is the head of more than 3,000 Kumano shrines across the country. It first appeared as a single religious institution in the 11th century. Kumano’s sacred mountains were a major pilgrimage destination for the imperial and aristocratic families of the Heian period (8th to 12th century).

Kumano Kodo are old pathways which connects Kyoto or Ise to the three sacred Kumano shrines.

From more than 1,000 years ago Kumano Pilgrimage Routes were developed by people and it remains intact today.

Since the Kumano Sanzan and its Pilgrimage Routes were registered as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the number of visitors increased dramatically.

Why Kumano?

By walking through Kumano Kodo and visit sacred Kumano shrines, people can be reborn to nature. Get back one’s original spirits. Thanks to the long distance and severe climate, Kii Mountains remained intact. When you walk through the old routes surrounded by huge Japanese cider and cypress trees, you can feel the spirits of nature.

There are many choices to visit Kumano Sanzan and Kumano Kodo. One- or two-days tour is recommended for beginners. It took more than 20 days to get to Kumano Hongu Taisha from Kyoto in an olden day. I recommend you to take paths bellow.

      Nakahechi route: From Takijiri Oji to Takahara Kumano Shrine

It takes about 3 hours by walk

This route is the beginning of entering into the sacred mountains. There are many interesting spots on the way. At last you can reach to the Takahara Kumano Shrine.

Near the shrine, there is a rest house where people can enjoy wonderful views of the village.

      Nakahechi route: From Hoskinson Oji to Hongu Taisha

         It takes about 3 hours by walk

     The attraction of this route is to get to Kumano Hongu Taisha. There is a hill where people can see Oh-Yunohara of Kumano Hongu Taisha which is the most sacred place.

When you reach to the shrine, you can feel great satisfaction.

       Nakahechi route: From Daimon-zaka to Nachi Taisha

It takes about 2 hours by walk

This route is the most typical old pathway where stone steps lead you to Nachi Taisha.

Surrounded by many tall cedar trees, you can feel the power of Kumano gods.

At the end, you can see both shrine and temple. Nachi Taisha and Signatories Temple.

At last, you can walk down to the big water fall, Nachi Waterfall which is also a sacred shrine named Hirou Jinja.

       Nakahechi route: From Miwazaki station to Hayatama Taisha

It takes about 3 hours by walk

This route attracts people because it is the only path where people can see beautiful see coasts. It is named Kiyosaki route. Finally, you can get to the Kumano Hayatama Taisha.

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