熊野三山 & 熊野古道 Kumano Sanzan & Kumano Kodo



The Kumano area is located around the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula,
about 100 kilometers south of Osaka.
It spans Wakayama and Mie Prefectures,
though most of the attractions and religious sites are in Wakayama.


Kumano Sanzan 熊野三山
Kumano is centered around three shrines,
Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha and Hayatama Taisha,
collectively known as the Kumano Sanzan.  


Kumano Hongu Taisha  熊野本宮大社
Kumano Hongu Taisha is one of the Kumano region's three famous shrines.
As well as enshrining its own deity,
Hongu Taisha also enshrines the deities of the other two Kumano shrines,
Hayatama Taisha and Nachi Taisha, and the sun goddess Amaterasu.
It serves as the head shrine of over 3000 Kumano shrines across Japan.
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Kumano Nachi Taisha 熊野那智大社
Kumano Nachi Taisha is one of the three Kumano shrines,
situated a few kilometers inland from the coastal hot spring resort of Katsuura.
The shrine is part of a large complex of neighboring religious sites
that exemplify the fusion of Buddhist
and Shinto influences that is particular to the Kumano region.
The site also boasts the tallest waterfall in Japan.

One of the highlights. Nachi Falls,
at 133-meters high, is the biggest waterfall in Japan.
It steals some spotlight from the last grand shrine, Kumano Nachi Taishai.
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Hayatama Taisha 熊野速玉大社
Hayatama Taisha is one of Kumano's three important shrines.
It is located in Shingu City on the southeast coast of the Kii Peninsula.
Together with the other two shrines, Hongu Taisha and Nachi Taisha,
Hayatama Taisha holds an important place in Japanese mythology.

While the buildings were rebuilt recently,
Hayatama Taisha has occupied the same spot on the Kumano Riverbank
since at least the 12th century.
In addition, religious artifacts that date back to the 3rd century
are evidence that the area has been a site of worship for much longer.
In fact, a Shinto creation myth claims that
three kami (Shinto deities) descended to earth
on a rock not far from the shrine.

As a result of its divine contact,
the rock has been worshiped as a sacred object.
An ancient tree (estimated to be over 800 years old) is located
inside the shrine compound and is also considered sacred.
These two kami highlight the importance of nature
worship to the area's beginnings.

Kamikura-jinja 神倉神社

Hananoiwaya-jinja  花の窟神社
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Kumano Kodo 熊野古道 Pilgrimage Routes

Pilgrims have traveled to the Kumano Sanzan via walking trails, called Kumano Kodo,
for over 1000 years.
The shrines are even older, with mention in Japan's founding mythology.
The region is infused with religious
and historical value that emanates from the three shrines.

The Shinto sun goddess' great grandson, Jimmu, came to Kumano
to unify the country as Japan's first Emperor.

To further add to the area's sanctity,
Kumano is often called "The Land of the Dead",
in reference to the belief that Shinto spirits
and family ancestors dwell here after they die.

In 2004, Kumano's religious treasures and pilgrimage routes
were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Named "The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range",
the designation also includes neighboring Koyasan, Yoshino and Ominesan.


Kohechi 小辺路 The Mountainous Route to Kumano (高野山-熊野三山、約70km)
Kohechi connects Kumano with Koyasan.
This mountaintop route is long and challenging,
and consequently should not be undertaken without careful preparation.
Inns are rarely found without zigzagging up
and down the mountainsides into valley towns, greatly increasing the distance traveled.
Kohechi was used mainly by Buddhist monks from the temple complex of Mount Koya.

Kiiji 紀伊路(渡辺津-田辺)

Omine Okugake 大峰 奥駈 修験の道
Omine Okugake connects Kumano with Yoshino via Mount Omine.  
Like Kohechi, Omine Okugake is a long, difficult and dangerous route
that follows high mountain ridges and barely passes any towns
for much of its duration.
This route was used primarily
by followers of the Shugendo mountain worship sect.

Nakahechi 中辺路 The Imperial Route to Kumano(田辺-熊野三山)
Nakahechi is well preserved and relatively easy to walk,
leading through hilly, forested landscapes and occasional villages.
The section between Takijiri Oji (outside central Tanabe)
and Hongu is about 30 kilometers,
and can be done in a comfortable two days' walk
with an overnight stop in Chikatsuya Oji, where there are a few minshuku.
The trail ends with a decent into Hongu Taisha,
offering a spectacular view of the shrine's massive torii gate.

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Ohechi 大辺路 The Coastal Route to Kumano(田辺-串本-熊野三山、約120km)
Ohechi follows the coast from Tanabe to Nachi Taisha.
This trail has virtually disappeared due to development
and the construction of modern roads.
At the height of its use between the 10th and 15th centuries,
Ohechi, along with Nakahechi and Kohechi,
is estimated to have seen the passage of over 30,000 people each year.

Iseji 伊勢路 The Eastern Route to Kumano(伊勢神宮-熊野三山、約160km)
Iseji connects Kumano with Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture.
Like Ohechi, much of Iseji's coastal trail has been covered
by paved roads and towns.
Only short, isolated sections remain as stoned
or earthen trails today.
Among them, the Magose Pass in Owase City
and Matsumoto Pass in Kumano City are some of the most picturesque.

onsen (hot springs)  温泉
There are three onsen (hot springs) near Hongu:
Yunomine, Kawayu and Wataze.
The first two are small onsen towns,
while Wataze Onsen consists of only a single hotel complex,
Watarase Onsen, which is known
for having the largest outdoor bath in western Japan.
The bath is also open to non staying guests.

Kawayu Onsen 川湯温泉
Kawayu Onsen is a unique hot spring town located along a river.
To use the onsen, bathers dig a hole in the gravel riverbank
into which hot spring water then flows.
Cool river water is mixed with the hot onsen water
to bring the water to a temperature particular to the bather's desire.
In the winter, a giant rotenburo called the Sennin Bath is dug
in the same manner, and is available for free public use.

Kawayu Winter Rotenburo (Sennin Bath)
Hours: 6:30 to 22:00
Closed: Not available from March to November
Admission: Free

Yunomine Onsen 湯の峰温泉
Yunomine Onsen has such a long history that one of its baths,
Tsuboyu, is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pilgrims would perform purification rituals
in the hot spring water as part of the religious process of their pilgrimage.
Tsuboyu is one of two public bathhouses in Yunomine.
The other is the nearby Yunomine Public Bathhouse,
in which there are two separate bath areas.

Hours: 6:00 to 21:30
Admission: 750 yen
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Yunomine Public Bathhouse
Hours: 6:00 to 22:00
Admission: 250 yen (regular bath) 380 yen (Kusuri bath)

By http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4953.html






Author: 美心