Kumano Nachi Taisya [Wakayama]


Kumano Nachi Taisha is one of the three Kumano shrines, along with Kumano Hongu Taisha in Tanabe City and Kumano Hayatama Taisha in Shingu City, and is the head shrine of the approximately 4,000 Kumano shrines in Japan. According to shrine legend, the shrine was founded in the 5th year of Emperor Nintoku. (Seigando-ji Temple is also included in the Sanzan.) This area has a long history as a sacred site of Kumano worship, and was a major training center of the Shinto and Buddhist traditions centering on the Nachi Waterfalls.

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The shrine was called “Musubinomiya” (meaning “the Shrine of Union”) because of the divine virtues of the deity Kumano-Osumi no Mikami, and was revered as a shrine that not only brought people together, but also connected them with each other and with their wishes. Nachi-no-mitaki is also revered by many who respect nature and pray for the prolongation of life and health, as well as by those who pray for the protection of traffic and maritime safety as the god of guidance, based on the legend of Yatagarasu (three-legged crow), and the sacred butagi tree, which symbolizes safety and health. The shrine is a place of deep divine blessings and virtues, as well as the nature of Kumano.

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On July 7, 2004, it was registered as a World Heritage site as Kumano Nachi-taisha Shrine in the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. Visitors can walk along the Kumano Kodo to reach the main shrine.

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There are 463 more stone steps to climb from the Kumano Kodo, and there are souvenir shops along the way, so it is a good idea to take a break while climbing.

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After climbing the long stone steps of the approach, Seigando-ji Temple is on the right, and the vermilion Otorii (Grand Gate) and the precincts of the Taisha Shrine continue on the left. The main shrine is located behind the hall of worship, flanked by the Suzumon Gate and Zuigaki.

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When you climb the stairs, pass through the torii gate, and look back, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view. As one would expect from a place of ascetic training, it may be tough for those with weak legs and backs, but there is a sense of accomplishment!


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It is a very mysterious shrine with beautiful vermilion pavilions. It is said that the shrine was originally enshrined near Nachi Falls, but was moved to this location 1,700 years ago. Eight of the buildings have been designated as national important cultural properties.

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The large camphor tree next to the shrine building is called “Nachi no camphor” and is 850 years old, 25 meters high, and has a trunk circumference of 8.3 meters. It is designated as a natural monument by Wakayama Prefecture.

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There is a cave in the root of the temple that is large enough for a person to enter, and one can dedicate the temple by passing through the womb holding a gomafuda with one’s name and wishes drawn on it. It is revered by many people as a place to pray for good health and longevity. The experience of being able to pass through the trees is precious.

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Starting from Daimonzaka on the Kumano Ancient Road to Nachi Falls and the main shrine, there is much to see and do. If you are not confident with your legs and back, you can park in the parking lot right next to the temple for 800 yen, so this is a shrine you should visit when you come to Wakayama!


Manager’s Comments

It is a place for training. It is not an easy tourist destination, but it is a place that every Japanese person should visit at least once in his or her life. It is interesting to look closely at the boundary between the two temples in a place that still retains strong vestiges of Shintoism and Buddhism, with Seigando-ji Temple next door.

my opinion

Kumano Nachi Taisya

1, Nachiyama, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5301, Japan

Parking is available at the souvenir shop parking lot as well as for a fee. (Free of charge only for those who shop at the souvenir shop)

About 20 minutes by bus from Kii-Katsuura Station

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