The Kumano Hongū Taisha (熊野本宮大社) is a Shinto shrine located in Hongu, Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. It is one of the Kumano Sanzan, the three grand shrines of the Kumano region, and is dedicated to the kami (deities) of the Kumano region. The Kumano Hongū Taisha is considered the main and most important of the three grand shrines, and is the most popular destination for pilgrims on the Kumano Kodo, a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that lead to the Kumano region. The shrine is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” designation.
We will arrive there on day 2 of the Nakahechi Route. In addition to getting the dual pilgrim certificate there will be some interesting things to see:
As a shrine, Kumano Hongu Taisha is a place of worship and spiritual significance for many people. Visitors can explore the shrine grounds and learn about its history and cultural significance. Some of the things you might see at Kumano Hongu Taisha include:
- The main shrine buildings: The shrine complex includes several buildings, including the honden (main hall), haiden (hall of worship), and heiden (hall of offerings). These buildings are adorned with intricate carvings and decorations, and are used for various ceremonies and rituals.
- Torii gates: The shrine grounds are marked by several torii gates, which are traditional Japanese gateways used to mark the entrance to sacred spaces. These gates are typically painted vermilion and adorned with shimenawa (sacred ropes).
- Stone pathways: The shrine grounds are crisscrossed by stone pathways that lead to different areas of the complex. These pathways are lined with lanterns and trees, and are a popular spot for visitors to take a leisurely stroll.
- Other shrines and structures: The shrine grounds also include a number of smaller shrines and structures, such as the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, the Nakahechi Museum, and the Kumano Hongu Museum. These buildings house exhibits and displays about the shrine’s history and cultural significance.
From there it will be a long journey north to Kyoto:
- By train: The easiest and most convenient way to get from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Kyoto is by train. From Hongu, you can take the Kisei Line to Shingu Station, and then transfer to the Nanki-Tanabe Line to Kii-Tanabe Station. From Kii-Tanabe, you can take the JR Kansai Airport Line to Kyoto Station. The entire journey takes around 4 hours and costs around 10,000 yen.
- By bus: Another option is to take a bus from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Kyoto. Buses run from the Hongu Bus Terminal to the Kyoto Station Bus Terminal, with a stop at Kii-Tanabe Station along the way. The journey takes around 4 hours and costs around 7,000 yen.
- By car: If you have a car, you can drive from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Kyoto. The journey takes around 3 hours, depending on traffic. Keep in mind that you will need to pay for tolls and parking in Kyoto.
This may be the most ambitious day of the journey, but will be a lot of fun!
Phrase of the day:
- “Omairi” (お参り) – This means “worship” or “pray.” You might use this phrase to describe your visit to the shrine.
- “O-fuda” (お札) – These are wooden or paper talismans that are often available at shrines. You can purchase an o-fuda and hang it in your home or car for good luck.
- “O-mamori” (お守り) – This refers to the good luck charms that are often sold at shrines. You can purchase an o-mamori and carry it with you for good luck.
- “O-mikuji” (おみくじ) – These are small fortunes that are often sold at shrines. You can purchase an o-mikuji and receive a prediction about your future.
- “O-satsu” (お札) – These are paper amulets or talismans that are often available at shrines. You can purchase an o-satsu and carry it with you for good luck.
- “Goshuin” (御朱印) – This refers to the stamps or seals that are often available at shrines. You can purchase a goshuin and have it stamped in a special book as a memento of your visit.