Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine
The head Kumano shrine and one of the three Kumano Sanzan grand shrines
- Closest station
JR Nagoya Station
・From Nagoya Station, about 1 hour 50 minutes to Yagi Station on the Kintetsu Railway limited express. Then about 4 hours by a Nara Kotsu bus from Yagi Station to Tosenji Onsen. From there it is another 1 hour to Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine.
・About 3 hours 10 minutes to Shingu Station on the JR limited express. From Shingu Station, take a Kumano Kotsu bus or Nara Kotsu bus to Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine.
100-1 Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture
Great Stuff to See and Do!
A sacred place full of history and tradition
The three major shrines known as “Kumano Sanzan” in southern Wakayama Prefecture are Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine, and Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine. Kumano Kodo is the name of the routes leading to the Kumano Sanzan.
Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine is the center of the Kumano Sanzan and is the main shrine of the over 4,700 Kumano shrines throughout Japan.
The main building in Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine was designated as a National Important Cultural Property in 1995. It is also part of the World Heritage “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.” Since over 1,000 years ago, many people have followed the rugged route deep in the mountains to reach Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine. Banners wave along both sides of the 158 stone steps leading to the main shrine, and the thick grove of Japanese cedar trees makes you feel the area’s eternal history.
The “guiding divine bird” that appears in legends
You can find a painting of the three-legged divine crow known as Yatagarasu at Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine. As written in the Nihon-shoki (The Chronicles of Japan) and Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), when Emperor Jimmu arrived in Kumano, he was guided to Nara by Yatagarasu. This created belief in Yatagarasu as a “guiding divine bird” synonymous with Kumano Sanzan. Yatagarasu is also famous as the symbol of the Japan Football Association.