The Kii Mountain Range
The Kii Mountain Range >> Kumano-sanzan
Kumano-sanzan is the collective name for the three grand Shinto shrines of Kumano – Hongu-taisha, Hayatama-taisha, and Nachi-taisha. Everyone from nobles of the Heian Period (794 - 1185) to common people of the Muromachi Period (1392 - 1573) visited the Kumano-sanzan in pursuit of the miraculous virtues to be gained by following Shinto and Shugendo practices.
Kumano Hongu-taisha is the headquarters for over 3,000 Kumano-jinja shrines nationwide. The cypress bark roofing the main shrine is imposing. Once located at Oyunohara), it was rebuilt at the present site after being damaged by floods.
Kumano Hayatama-taisha is one shrine of Kumano-sanzan located at the mouth of the Kumanogawa River. It is derived from Kamikura-jinja where a giant rock called Gotobiki Rock is worshipped.
Kumano Nachi-taisha, located on the hillside of Mt. Nachi, has a religious origin based on ancient nature worship centering on Nachi-ohtaki, or Nachi Great Falls. The “Nachi-no-himatsuri,” or Fire Festival is particularly famous.
Located next to Kumano Nachi-taisha, Seiganto-ji Temple represents a blending of Shintoism and Buddhism. It is the first sacred temple on the pilgrimage route to the 33 sacred temples of the Saigoku Junrei of the Sanjusankasho Kannon.
The Nachi Waterfall drops 133 m straight down, producing a deafening roar as it cascades down like a knife through a virgin forest. The object of worship, Hirou-jinja, a branch of Kumano Nachi-taisha shrine, is enshrined at the base of the waterfall.
Fudaraku is the Buddhist Pure Land believed to exist far to the south. Fudarakusan-ji Temple is famous as the departure point for the Fudaraku-tokai, a risky ascetic training requiring an assumption of death as if crossing a hostile sea to the Pure Land.
Nachi Primeval Forest
The Nachi Primeval Forest is managed as a holy precinct of Kumano Nachi-taisha from ancient times. In this precious primeval forest, unique vegetation of the Kumano district is maintained in its natural wild state.