Kumano Hayatama Taisha is one of Kumano’s three important shrines. It is located in Shingu City on the southeast coast of the Kii Peninsula. Together with the other two shrines, Hongu Taisha and Nachi Taisha, Hayatama Taisha holds an important place in Japanese mythology.
While the buildings were rebuilt recently, Hayatama Taisha has occupied the same spot on the Kumano Riverbank since at least the 12th century. In addition, religious artifacts that date back to the 3rd century are evidence that the area has been a site of worship for much longer. In fact, a Shinto creation myth claims that three kami (Shinto deities) descended to earth on a rock not far from the shrine.
As a result of its divine contact, the rock has been worshiped as a sacred object. An ancient tree (estimated to be over 800 years old) is located inside the shrine compound and is also considered sacred. These two kami highlight the importance of nature worship to the area’s beginnings.
Also on display in Hayatama Taisha’s Treasure Hall are over a dozen national treasures, including offerings brought by pilgrims on the Kumano Kodo. The collection housed in this small museum is impressive, with more national treasures than most major museums.
Address: 1 Shingu, Shingu-shi, Wakayama 647-0081
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00
Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine
Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine is the foremost attraction in Shingu, and the place around which the town grew. Shingu literally means “new shrine” and in these terms the old shrine is Kamikura Shrine on the mountainside. Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine is located near the mouth of the Kumano River where the water from the Kii Mountains flows in to the ocean.
Kumano Hayatama Taisha is located at the mouth of the Kumano-gawa River where the continuous flow of waters from the sacred heights of the Kii Mountains empty into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.
The nature in and around the shrine is an integral part of this Grand Shrine’s precincts and annual rituals. The ancient 800 year old Nagi-no-Ki tree (Podocarpus nagi) highlights the areas deep tradition of nature worship.
UNESCO World Heritage site
Kumano Hayatama Taisha is a Shinto shrine located in Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture, on the shores of the Kumanogawa in the Kii Peninsula of Japan. It is included as part of the Kumano Sanzan in the UNESCO World Heritage site “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”
Ease of Access
Hayatama Taisha can be reached in a 15 minute walk from JR Shingu Station.
4 hours by Express train from Shin-Osaka.
Kamikuri-jinja Shrine takes around 15 minutes on foot from Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine.