Recommended activities and seasons
Enjoy Natural Scenery：Mountainous scenery
Encounter History and Tradition：Historic building
Get Some Exercise：Hiking
Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter
Kumano, where the old roads are a World Heritage site.
The Kumano region, situated in about the center of Japan and where the three sacred sites of Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine, and Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine are located, is far from the big cities, and has been a sacred land since ancient times. Kumano has welcomed pilgrims from all walks of life, seeking peace in this world and paradise in the next, since ancient times, and faith in Kumano remains strong today.
There are a number of pilgrimage routes in Kumano, running to the three famous sites of Kumano from Ise Grand Shrine (the Ise Road), from Kansai and Kyoto (the Kii Road), from Mount Koya (Kohechi Road), and from Tanabe in Wakayama (the Nakahechi and Ohechi Roads). They have been collectively designated as a World Heritage Site.
The Ise Road, farthest to the east, is popular for the diverse range of scenery it offers to travelers walking south along the eastern Kii Peninsula: the Kumano Sea, the paving stones of the road itself, and beautiful terraced paddies.
Traveling from Ise Grand Shrine to the three shrines of Kumano.
In the Edo period there was a saying to visit the Ise Shrine seven times and Kumano three. The Ise Road was a road of faith for worshippers of nature, marking the way to the shrines of Kumano after their devotions at Ise. Today, it is a walking course so you can experience the journey yourself.
The paving stones once trod by pilgrims over the Magose Pass, on the border between the town of Kihoku and the city of Owase, pass through a cypress forest. There are many historical sites here, such as the Yonaki Jizo statue, making you feel as if you’ve slipped back in time. The paving stones lead you down from Matsumoto Pass to the Shichiri-Mihama coast, carpeted in tiny pebbles. Nearby is the Hana-no-Iwaya Shrine World Heritage site, the oldest shrine in Japan, even mentioned in the Nihonshoki. Twice a year visitors come here from throughout Japan for the rope-changing ritual.
Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes
|Kumano City Area|
|Higashi Kishu Promotion Section, Southern Area Revitalization Bureau, Mie Prefectural Local Area Coordination Division 8:30 am to 5:15 pm|
|Sat., Sun., nat. hols. and New Year period|
|Free of charge|
|Magose Toge Pass
On foot from JR Kisei Main Line Aiga Sta., about 30 min, or by bus from JR Kisei Main Line Owase Sta. to Kamo, and then walk about 10 min.
Matsumoto Toge Pass
On foot from JR Kisei Main Line Odomari Sta. about 10 min