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World Heritage Site Kumano Kodo


World Heritage Site Kumano Kodo

With their differing origins and eras, the three sacred places of Mount Koya, Yoshino, and the Three Shrines of Kumano have flourished in the vast area including Wakayama, Nara, and Mie prefectures, covered in forests where it is believed that the gods live.

Nakahechi Tanabe Hongu Village

Kumano Hongu Taisha (Main Shrine)
The main shrine of Kumano was once called Kumano-ni-imasu (“the gods are in Kumano”), and was the head shrine of Kumano with 3,000 shrines nationwide. During the Heian, the “Kumano Goko” of successive generations of popes, emperors, and imperial princesses made a 180-degree turn during a phenomenon called “Ari-no-Kumano-Mode” (ants visiting Kumano), in which men and women young and old competed against each other during their pilgrimages. This is said to have been the origins of the Nakahechi Route. Since the Buddha Amida Nyorai at the heart of Pure Land Buddhism became a “honji butsu” (native Buddha), this place has been called the “Land of Revived Life”, which is why it is currently said to be a power spot. At the center of this land is the Kumano Main Shrine.

Access Information

Route Hotel~(3-minute walk)~Shirahama Sanbashi Bus Stop
Duration About 90 minutes by express bus to Kumano Kodo
Bus Companies Meiko Bus

Kumano Nachi Taisha
It takes about 20 minutes by bus from Kii-Katsuura Station to Daimonzaka bus stop. You’ll have to go up the stone steps from the entrance of Daimonzaka to Kumano Nachi Shrine, but the trail is short, with a length of about 1.3 km or 40 minutes of walking, and you can get a real sense of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. Climb up the mossy stone stairs to find hundreds of giant cedar trees lining the path, creating an atmosphere of the divine. This is one of the Three Shrines of Kumano, standing alongside the large shrines of Hongu and Hayatama, which still receive many visitors to this day. Kumano Nachi Shrine, in contrast, is painted a vivid red, and situated next to Nachiyama Seiganto Temple, a famous temple known for issuing the first amulets in the western lands, is a place that tells the history of the blending of Shinto and Buddhism. Don’t miss Nachi Waterfall, the origin of the Nachiyama faith.

Access Information

Route Hotel~(10 minutes by bus)~Shirahama Station~Kii-Katsuura Station~(20 minutes by bus)~Daimonzaka bus stop
Duration About 120 minutes on the JR Kinokuni Line
Bus Companies Meiko Bus

Ohechi, Shingu, Wakayama

Kumano Hayatama Taisha
Hayatama Shrine, located in Shingu near the mouth of the Kumano River. The bright red shrine is said to be the home of the hearts of the people of Shingu. Originally worshipping a god enshrined in a dwelling place in the neighboring Mount Kamikura, eventually the shrine came to worship the gods of their own land, and the current shrine came to be called Shingu (“New Shrine”) in contrast to the original shrine in Mount Kamikura. While there are many theories on the origin of the name Hayatama (“fast ball”), a remaining article in ancient records says that a ball was buried 227 cm underground.

Access Information

Route Hotel~(10 minutes by bus)~Shirahama Station~Shingu Station~(15 minutes on foot)
Duration About 140 minutes on the JR Kinokuni Line
Bus Companies Meiko Bus
Important Points When Planning Your Journey to Kumano Kodo

Important Points When Planning Your Journey to Kumano Kodo

There are few modes of transportation toward the Three Shrines of Kumano, so we recommend you plan your trip in advance.
For more information, see the websites of each mode of transportation.

Meiko Bus (external link)
JR Odekake Net (JR West Japan Road Map) (external link)


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