Kumano is a coastal area in the southernmost part of Honshu. This area has deep spiritual roots in Japanese history. For centuries, worshippers have traversed this densely forested peninsula via a web of walking trails called the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. Walking these trails is part of the ancient Shinto tradition of nature worship and purification, an essential part of the pilgrimage. Importantly, these trails served to connect the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto to the worship sites.
The religious sites and pilgrimage routes of Kumano Kodo became designated UNESCO cultural world heritage sites in 2004. They include the ‘Kumano Sanzan’ (three shrines) as well as Koyasan, Yoshino and Ominesan.
While Kumano’s ancient history is nestled in the lush mountains, the coastal towns also offer wonderful attractions; beautiful scenery, food, accommodation as well as hot springs. To find out more about walking the Kumano Kodo, check out the articles below: