Kumano, Japan

Kumano is one of the most charming destinations in Japan. It is also one of the most neglected as a destination, except for the veteran travelers here. There are a host of reasons why the city is considered among the most rewarding destinations the country has on offer, and the sheer absence of anything touristy is one of the best.

Kumano was declared a world heritage site in 2004 by the UNESCO. The region is home to the only on water pilgrimage route in the world. There are other terms such as Kii Hanto and the Kii no Kuni applied to the city.

Kumano is situated at the southern part of the Kii Peninsula. The region was once quite powerful. It included the Mie, Nara and the Wakayama prefectures. During the Meiji Era, the region was split up into three prefectures and many temples and other heritage sites related to Buddhism were destroyed so that the spiritual influence of the region may be diminished a bit and that the power of the region may be restored back to the Emperor of Japan.

In olden times, Kumano was visited by pilgrims from the length and breadth of Japan. They mainly visited the “Kumano Nachi Taisha”, “Kumano Hayatama Taisha”, “Kumano Hongu Taisha”, which was part of the ‘Kumano Sanzan’ pilgrimage. “Fudaraku san-ji” and “Seiganto-ji” are two temples part of the pilgrimage.

The stunning nature at Kumano is another reason to visit the city. The beauty of this region can be best enjoyed by hiking through the forests, valleys, hills and waterfalls here.

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