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Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine and Nachisan Seigantoji Temple

Experience the nature worship of Kumano at Mount Nachi

Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is in southeastern Wakayama Prefecture in the mountains of Nachi-Katsuura town. Together with Nachisan Seigantoji Temple, they have been at the center of Kumano's nature worship since ancient times. The shrine is part of the Kumano Sanzan, the three grand shrines of Kumano, along with Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Hongu Taisha. The town of Nachi-Katsuura also has many attractions, including the quality seaside hot spring of Katsuura Onsen and Katsuura Port, which boasts the largest catch of raw tuna in the country.

Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine

Situated in the middle of Mount Nachi, Kumano Nachi Taisha originated from the nature worship of Nachi Falls. Climb the 467 stone steps to the vivid vermillion lacquered worship hall, and beyond is the main hall consisting of six buildings, emanating a sacred atmosphere. Also on the shrine grounds is an ancient camphor tree aged around 850 years, where you can experience the Tainai Kuguri, or passing through the womb, as a symbol of rebirth. Every July, the Nachi Fan Festival is held. Recognized as one of the top three fire festivals in Japan, the energetic event features men dressed in white and carrying massive torches weighing over 50 kilograms to purify the shrine's pathway.

Nachi Falls

Nachi Falls has been revered since ancient times as the object of worship of Hiro Shrine, an annex shrine of Kumano Nachi Taisha. It is the tallest waterfall in the country and recognized as Japan's best three waterfalls. Hiro Shrine does not have a shrine building; the great waterfall itself is the object of worship, a symbol of the profound reverence toward nature at the basis of Kumano worship. Upstream from Nachi Falls are 48 waterfalls known to be the training grounds of Shugendo religion, and Nachi Falls is also referred to as Ichi-no-Taki, or the first waterfall. The waters cascading down the 133-meter-tall vertical sheer rock surface is truly a sight to behold.

Nachisan Seigantoji Temple

Located adjacent to Kumano Nachi Taisha, Nachisan Seigantoji Temple overlooks the great Nachi Falls and the native forests of Nachi, and is also known as the first stop on the Saigoku Pilgrimage route of 33 sacred locations around the Kansai region. The temple has an extensive history as the sacred ground of Kumano worship and was a large-scale training hall centered around Nachi Falls for Shugendo, a syncretic religion fusing Shintoism and Buddhism. Later in 1868, it was split into Seigantoji Temple and Nachi Taisha. The beautiful vermillion three-story pagoda behind the temple's main hall creates a magnificent setting against the backdrop of the great Nachi Falls.

Daimonzaka hill on the Kumano Kodo trail

A path on the Kumano Kodo trail leading to Kumano Nachi Taisha and Nachi Falls, Daimonzaka is a moss-covered stone steps surrounded by tall cedars, evoking the atmosphere of the times when the trail welcomed ancient worshippers. On the way are various sites, such as the Daimonzaka Tea House where you can experience dressing up in Heian Period (794-1185) costumes; the Furigase Bridge, said to be the dividing point of the sacred and secular worlds; and the "husband and wife cedar trees," a pair of tall ancient cedar trees around 800 years old. While the path from the entrance of Daimonzaka to Kumano Nachi Taisha is an ascending stone steps, it is only about 1.3 kilometers long and rich in various features of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.

Location

Name Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine and Nachisan Seigantoji Temple
Website https://en.visitwakayama.jp/venues/venue_20/
Address 1 Nachisan, Nachi-Katsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama
Access From JR Kii-Katsuura Station, take the bus for approximately 25 minutes.
Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes' drive from the Susami-minami IC on the Kisei Expressway
Inquiries TEL: 0735-52-5311 (Nachi-Katsuura Tourist Information Center)

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