Kumano, which became Japan’s best tourist destination in 2020, is called the sacred trails where the gods live. Here tourists can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
In addition to shopping and entertainment in Tokyo or cultural tourism in Kyoto, Japan also has spiritual tourism located in Kumano, Wakayama Prefecture. Kumano, dubbed as the land of the gods, is still awake to its natural beauty. This influenced by various religious rituals performed by Shinto Buddhists, who referred to as Shinbutso-Sugo.
Summarized from various sources, the history of development in Kumano began in the Heian period in 794-1185. Before it built, Kumano was a mountainous area that was already known as a mystical place that had not been touched by humans.
Members of the kingdom then travelled between 30-40 days to search for earthly paradise in Kumano. The intense spiritual atmosphere in Kumano also reflected in the pilgrimage route to Kumano Sanzan called Kumano Kodo. This pathway is one of two paths that have named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Kumano Kodō is an ancient expedition path that results in Kii Hanto, the largest peninsula in Japan. This spiritual path was and was used to make a trip to the divine website “Kumano Sanzan” or the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongū Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha as well as Kumano Hayatama Taisha. Wikipedia
Arriving there, they erected temples called Kumano Sanzan. There are three sacred temples called Kumano Sanzan, namely the Main Temple of Kumano Hayatama (Shingu), the Main Temple of Kumano Nachi Taisha (Nachi-Katsuura) and the Main Temple of Kumano Hongu Taisha. There are currently 3,000 temples standing in Kumano.
Along the route, tourists can also find hot springs (onsen), which believed to be a cure for the body and mind. One of the baths believed to be soothing and beneficial to beauty was named Ryujin. In addition to the onsen for bathing, in Kumano, there is also a hot spring that used for cooking various local snacks such as eggs and boiled bamboo shoots.
In Kumano, there is also the highest waterfall in Japan called Naichi Waterfall or in Japanese called Nachi no Taki. The 133-meter high waterfall is called the embodiment of god in Shinto teachings.
Therefore, this waterfall is considered sacred and marked with a lightning-shaped paper hanger (shide). Not just a typical mountain tour, tourists can also watch whales while sailing using a boat in the Pacific Ocean. Tourists can depart from Nachi-Katsuura Harbor.
Nachi-Katsuura Harbor maps
Tourists from outside Japan need not worry about limited information when coming to Kumano. The most accessible to Kumano Kudo is through Tanabe City.
There is also the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau there, a tourism bureau that will help tourists in planning trips and getting tour guides. Tourists can also make online reservations through the bureau.