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[Wakayama/Tourism] What is the world heritage tourist destination “Kumano Kodo”? Introducing the route and surrounding spots

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Introducing must-see sightseeing spots around Kumano Kodo! The Kumano Kodo is a path to visit the three Kumano shrines of Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha in Wakayama Prefecture. Part of it is registered as a World Heritage Site, and it is one of Japan's proud tou...

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1. What is Kumano Sanzan?

Kumano Sanzan refers to the following three shrines that enshrine Kumano Gongen and are the headquarters of Kumano Shrines nationwide.

・Kumano Hongu Taisha (Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture)

・Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine (Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture)

・Kumano Nachi Taisha (Nachikatsuura Town, Wakayama Prefecture)

A visit to the Kumano Sanzan is called a ``Kumano Pilgrimage,'' and since the late Heian period, the Pure Land faith has spread, and Kumano is regarded as a Pure Land, and people of all ages and genders have performed the pilgrimage. Ta. There were so many people walking that it was nicknamed the ``Ants' Kumano Pilgrimage.'' This pilgrimage route is called the Kumano Kodo.

Now, let me introduce in a little more detail the Kumano Sanzan, which is the purpose of the Kumano pilgrimage.

1-1 Kumano Hongu Taisha

Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine, located in Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, is the center of the Kumano Sanzan and the main shrine of over 4,700 Kumano Shrines nationwide. The shrine building is a historic shrine that is said to have been built in the 65th year of Emperor Sujin (33 BC). The three-legged crow "Yatagarasu" is famous for its belief in guidance, and can be seen throughout the shrine grounds, such as mailboxes, amulets, and votive tablets.

Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine

【basic information】

Name Kumano Hongu Taisha

Address Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama Prefecture

Contact 0735-42-0009

WEB Kumano Hongu Taisha official website

1-2 Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine

Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine, located in Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture, is a shrine whose symbol is a gigantic Nagi tree. Kamikura Shrine, a set shrine, is also about a 10-minute walk away.

Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine

【basic information】

Name: Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine

Address: 1 Shingu, Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture

Contact 0735-22-2533

WEB Kumano Hayatama Taisha official website

1-3 Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine in Nachikatsuura Town, Wakayama Prefecture is located right next to Nachi Otaki Falls. The bright vermilion main hall and shrine buildings are attractive.

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine

【basic information】

Name Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine

Address 1 Nachiyama, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Contact 0735-55-0321

WEB Kumano Nachi Taisha official website

2. Kumano Kodo

The Kumano Kodo is not only a road that connects the three Kumano mountains, but also includes six roads for visiting the three mountains. Each trail has a different starting point and a different level of difficulty, so be careful when sightseeing. From here, we will introduce six pilgrimage routes.

2-1 Kohechi

Kohechi of the Kumano Kodo connects Koyasan, the head temple of the Shingon sect, and Kumano Hongu Taisha. At approximately 70km, it is not a long route, but it is a very difficult route as it traverses the mountain range and crosses multiple mountain passes.

Although the route has many ups and downs that can be difficult even for those with mountain climbing experience, it is attractive because there are many spots where you can see beautiful nature.

Hatenashi Shuraku, also known as the "village in the sky," retains a strong vestige of traditional Japanese life. You will be able to spend a relaxing time in a space that will make you feel like you have traveled back in time.

Kohechi/Hanashi Village

2-2 Nakahechi

Nakahechi runs from near Kii-Tanabe Station in Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture to Kumano Hongu Taisha, and then to Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha.

A must-see tourist spot on Nakahechi is Takijiri Oji. Among the ninety-nine Kujuku princes who are the children of Kumano Gongen, Prince Takijiri is one of the five princes with a particularly high rank. By the way, Nakahechi is dotted with other Kujuku Oji shrines other than Takijiri Oji, such as Tsugizakura Oji and Chikatsuyu Oji.

The Gyuba Douji statue is also a popular tourist spot on Nakahechi. A cute stone statue with a motif of a child riding a cow and a horse.


2-3 Ohechi

Ohechi is a route that starts near Kii-Tanabe Station and connects to Kumano Nachi Taisha. As you travel along the coast, you can enjoy a view of Karekinada as you walk. There are also Nagaizaka and Tomidazaka, where the stone pavement typical of the Kumano Kodo remains, making it a road where you can feel the history.

You can also try a ferry boat experience in the Yasui area. If you make the trip to Kumano Kodo, you should definitely try it out.

2-4 Iseji

Iseji is a route that connects Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture and Kumano Sanzan. This route is popular as it allows you to visit both Ise Jingu and Kumano Sanzan.

There are many spots where you can walk along cobblestones, making it a route that gives you a feel of the Kumano Kodo. Typical examples include Magose Pass Road and Matsumoto Pass Road, which still have beautiful stone pavements, and Tsuzurato Pass Road, which still has stone walls. The route over Mt. Yaki is said to be one of the most difficult sections of the Iseji route, as it has many ups and downs, but you can enjoy the mysterious and beautiful moss-covered stone pavement.

Iseji/Tsudurato Pass

2-5 Kiiji

Kiiji is a route that starts at Jonangu Shrine in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, and continues through Osaka Prefecture to Tanabe City. From there, it merges with Nakahechi. The first half is mostly about climbing over mountains with many ups and downs, but the second half allows you to walk while feeling the ocean.

Along Kiiji, there are many Oji shrines, including Fujishiro Oji (Fujishiro Oji) and Kirime Oji, which are one of the five princes. It's nice to walk around and enjoy the historic buildings.

2-6 Omine Okugakemichi

The Omine Okugemichi is a route that runs from Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture to Kumano. It is a rugged route that is said to be the path of training for Shugendo.

3. Other tourist attractions

When you visit Kumano Kodo, there are some recommended sightseeing spots that you should definitely enjoy. There are many popular tourist destinations, but we will introduce three carefully selected ones.

3-1 Kumano Hongu Onsenkyo

Kumano Kodo has hot springs that will soothe your tired body from walking. Kumano Hongu Onsenkyo is a hot spring village that collectively refers to the following three hot springs.

・Yunomine Onsen

・Kawayu Onsen

・Watase Onsen

Yunomine Onsen is home to Tsuboyu, which has been registered as a World Heritage Site. It's interesting because it's said that the color of the water changes seven times depending on the day.

Kawayu Onsen is a natural hot spring that has a temperature of over 70 degrees Celsius that gushes out from the riverbed and is fused with cold river water to reach the perfect temperature. At night, you can soak in a hot spring under a starry sky, giving you a luxurious feeling.

Watase Onsen has hotels, bungalows, and campgrounds, making it a recommended spot for overnight stays. There are also hot spring facilities where you can take a day trip bath, so you can heal the fatigue of your pilgrimage.

Kawayu Onsen Open-air bath Hermit bath

3-2 Nachi Falls

There are several waterfalls near Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, also known as the ``Nachi 48 Falls''. In particular, the 133m tall waterfall known as ``Ichi no Taki'' is said to have more than 1 ton of water flowing down every second, making it quite impressive. You will be deeply healed by being bathed in negative ions.

Nachi Falls

Upstream from Ichi-no-taki, there are also Ni-no-taki and San-no-taki, which are collectively known as ``Nachi no Otaki'' and are designated as national scenic spots. Hitaki Shrine, which is dedicated to the waterfall itself, is also nearby, so be sure to visit it.

Hitaki Shrine

【basic information】

Name Kumano Nachi Taisha Hitaki Shrine

Address: Nachiyama, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

WEB Kumano Nachi Taisha Hiryu Shrine official website

3-3 Dorokyo

Dorokyo Gorge, also known as Dorohatcho, is a tourist spot designated as a national scenic spot. This large gorge is located within Yoshino-Kumano National Park and straddles three prefectures: Nara, Mie, and Wakayama. The contrast between the rugged cliffs and the cobalt blue water surface is beautiful and will draw you in.

In addition to Doro Gorge, there are other spots in Yoshino-Kumano National Park that are perfect for sightseeing. In addition to Kumano Sanzan and Nachi Falls, you can enjoy rich nature such as Mt. Yoshino, famous for its wild cherry blossoms, and Shichirimihama Beach, which has a straight coastline. You can also enjoy diving and snorkeling, so it is also recommended for those who like marine activities.


【basic information】

Name: Yoshino-Kumano National Park

Address: 2-4-20 Midorigaoka, Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture (Yoshino-Kumano National Park Management Office)

Contact: 0735-22-0342 (Yoshino-Kumano National Park Management Office)

WEBYoshino -Kumano National Park official website

Four. road world heritage

The Kumano Kodo is a world heritage site and a tourist spot that is attracting attention from all over the world.

It is a famous place full of attractions where you can not only visit the Kumano Sanzan but also enjoy the nature and historical buildings along each route. Feel the history by walking the Kumano Kodo, which has been followed by many people since the Heian period.

There are also various tourist spots around Kumano Shrine. When you go to Kumano Kodo, be sure to check out the nearby areas as well.

Written by

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