Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kumano Sanzan 熊野那智大社 熊野三山 | Japan Luxury Travel Agency

Kumano Nachi Taisha is a Shinto shrine and part of the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range of Japan. Kumano Nachi Taisha is also one of the three Kumano shrines, situated a few kilometers inland from the coastal hot spring resort of Katsuura.


The shrine is part of a large complex of neighboring religious sites that exemplify the fusion of Buddhist and Shinto influences that is particular to the Kumano region. The site also boasts Nachi Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in Japan, for worship at the Hiryū Shrine near Kumano Nachi Taisha, is believed to be inhabited by a kami called Hiryū Gongen.

Also, there is a sacred tree at this site, the Sacred Camphor Tree, located between the Nachi Shrine (heiden) and Seigantoji temple. It is 850 years old and is said to have been planted by Taira-no-Shigemori (1138-1179). The straw rope (shimenawa) and paper flags show that this tree has been sanctified as a kami. The tree is alive with moss and ferns and other small plants growing on its ancient limbs. It is possible to enter the tree, where there is a small altar for making offerings.

General Information
Address: 1 Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama 649-5301, Japan

Telephone: 0735-55-0321
Opening Hours: 07:00 – 16:30


Kumano Sanzan locates at the southeastern part of the Kii Mountain Range in Wakayama Prefecture. It covers with beautiful mountains is located in the southeast of the Kii Peninsula,the approximate center of Japan’s main island of Honshu. The Kiwahatenashi mountain range runs through the southern part of the peninsula, featuring the 3,600 ridges of Kumano mountains. Through the valleys from the mountains many rivers including the Kumano River, the Otonashi River,and the Iwata River flow on into the Pacific Ocean.


Nachi-no-Hi Matsuri Fire Festival
Nachi-no-Hi Matsuri Fire Festival is the major festival of Kumano Nachi Taisha performs on July 14 annually. It is a fire festival in which six-meter-high portable shrines symbolically representing the purification of the waterfall with the fires from oversized torches is laboriously carried by men dressed in white.

Hiking to Nachi Taisha
There are four main hiking routes to lead you to the Kumano Sanzan. Like Hongu Taisha and Hayatama Taisha, Nachi Taisha was one of the main destinations of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. For travelers who want to experience the trails but are impeded by time constraints, a hike up the Daimon-zaka is a good option.

The route, paved with stone and lined with massive evergreens, leads 600 meters up to the gates of Nachi Taisha. A short distance from Seigantoji and Nachi Taisha is the 133 meter waterfall Nachi no Taki. The tallest (single-tiered) waterfall in Japan, it was the original religious site in the area. Before the development of organized religious doctrine, Nachi no Taki was venerated by the earliest Japanese people. Even today, visitors will be impressed by the natural power and beauty of the falls.

History of the Kumano Sanzan
The Kumano Sanzan shrine complexes were likely constructed between the sixth and ninth centuries as places of nature worship. Though their locations have remained roughly intact since then, remodeling and reconstruction have been necessary over the years.

In the 11th century, the Kumano Sanzan became a pilgrimage destination for the Imperial family. By the late 15th century, however, the majority of pilgrims to Kumano were civilians—monks traveling for religious purposes, artists looking for inspiration, and other common folk. The pilgrimage was so popular people began to refer to the long processions as the “Kumano ant pilgrimage.”

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