Around a fifty-minute car ride away from HOTEL & RESORTS WAKAYAMA-KUSHIMOTO stands the world heritage site Kumano Sansha, one of the most popular tourist spots in the Wakayama area. Discover this spiritual place for yourself and connect with the roots of Japanese culture surrounded by history and nature.
The Kumano Hongu Grand Shrine is the main shrine of the many Kumano shrines around Japan. Grouped together with the nearby Kumano Hayatama Taisha and the Kumano Nachi Taisha, they are referred to as the Kumano Sanzan, with a history of around two thousand years behind them.
Kumano Hongu Taisha
This is the main shrine of the three thousand Kumano shrines around Japan. Even among the three shrines this possesses the most austere, solemn ambience. This shrine was selected as an important cultural property in 1995. The 158 stone steps that lead to the shrine are decorated with banners on each side, and the cryptomeria trees that see you off along the road as you climb up the stairs ooze an odd sense of permanence.
Once you made it up on the stairs and passed through the gates of the shrine, you will be greeted by the splendid appearance of the main shrine, thatched with cypress bark. Our recommended spot around the shrine is the unique, black post box. You can find Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow from Japanese myths sitting on top of it. It is also possible to buy souvenirs such as pottery depicting Yatagarasu on site, or omikuji, Japanese fortune-telling papers.
The Kumano Main Shrine used to be on the sandbanks of the Kumano River, at a place called Oyunohara, but due to heavy flooding in the Meiji Period, it was disassembled and moved to its current place in 1891 in order to protect it from the weather conditions. Its location currently known as a power spot where the “gods swept down.” A famous cherry blossom viewing place is also located around ten minutes on foot from the shrine.
The trees growing on the site of the shrine are believed to be here for a millennium, and they are regarded as the symbols of Kumano. From a long time ago, people come here to pray for safety on the road, and they also often take a leaf from these trees and shove it in their pockets as protection. This main shrine incorporates the Fumiya and the Hayatama, and the beautiful, vivid orange-hued pillars of the shrine make a unique, beautiful sight enveloped in the lush forest around it.
A lot of spiritual and religious events are conducted at the Kumano Hayatama shrine. If you catch one of the scheduled events while on a holiday, it is definitely worth seeing.
The shrine is located at the old location of the Kamikura shrine that is said to be one of the oldest places of worship in Japan. Five hundred steps of stairs lead up to this shrine and the massive stone cliff behind it is said to be a home of deities.
Kumano Nachi Taisha
This shrine is located slightly farther away from the Main Shrine, next to the Nachi Falls, which is also a famous location, considered a cultural heritage site.
Nachi falls is formed by a stream that originates in Mount Ogumotori. You can find 48 different waterfalls originating from this mountain, but this one is the tallest of them all. The shrine is situated right next to it, which worships the waterfall itself, and the Kumato god used to be enshrined in this place as well. These falls are associated with longevity, so many people visit its basin to drink from its water, hoping it would grant them a long life.
Great Arch: Interior Gate
Shōreisha is an around 850 years old camphor tree, worshipped as a sacred tree on the shrine grounds. The trunk of the tree is hollow, and it is possible to pass through it while bringing a stick with you with prayers written on it (JPY 300). It is believed that the tree was planted by Taira no Shigemori.
A deity in the form of a three-legged crow that is worshiped as the god of the Kumano shrine. It is said that this god has the power to lead people towards a better path in life. The Miagata-Hikosha compound is the place of worship for the Yatagarasu.
It is said that Yatagarasu led the legendary founding emperor of Japan on a journey until Kashihara in today’s Nara prefecture before his enthronement. After leading him there, Yatagarasu changed shape and took a break at the stone now called Karasuishi.
The photos displayed are for illustrative purpose only.
Please note that the details above are subject to change.