In Kumano, the three shrines and pilgrimage routes are
listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Kumano Nachi
Grand Shrine is located a few kilometers away from the
hot spring of Katsuura, which is by the coast. It is one of
three Kumano shrines along with Hayatama Taisha and
Hongu Taisha. Collectively they are known as the
Kumano Sanzan. This holy site started out from
Shintoism until Buddhism was introduced in the 6th
century into Japan. The buildings of the Kumano Nachi
Grand Shrine have architecture that reflects both
The Seigantoji is a three storied pagoda that is best known for having the Nachi Waterfall in the background. It is one of the few shrine temples that survived the separation of Buddhism and Shintoism that was conducted by the Japanese Government. From the Kumano Nachi Taisha you can see the tallest waterfall in Japan known as Nachi Waterfall. At 133 meters the waterfall was venerated long before organized religious doctrines formed in the area. It is said the deity of the waterfall is enshrined on the premises. Its powerful appearance is one of the reasons that the earliest Japanese people worshipped the waterfall and why it continues to be a popular spectacle.
The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes visits the three shrines with the Nachi Grand Shrine as the main destination. On this route you can traverse to each location enjoying the nature surrounding these holy sites and be imbued with spiritual energy. The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route has existed for more than 1000 years and is still traveled by people to this day. There are five routes you can choose to travel through, which are Nakahechi, Ohechi, Iseji, Kohechi, and Omine Okugake. Nakahechi is one of the well preserved routes and easy to walk. Kohechi is a challenging route that requires much preparation as it connects Kumano to Koyasan, the center of Shingo Buddhism.