The Kumano Kodo is a series of ancient pilgrimage trails which stretch across the mountainous Kii Peninsula. This area of southern Japan is renowned for its spiritual significance, which is embodied in the exquisite and ornate Grand Shrines of Kumano. The routes and their religious importance were officially recognised in 2004 when they became UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
All of the six historic Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes promise mountainous terrain, misty forests and tumbling waterfalls. Emerging from this ethereal landscape are the three Grand Shrines of Kumano. Collectively known as Kumano Sanzan, they are Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha, and we recommend a visit to these beautiful and spiritual places. Nearby is Kawayu hot springs (onsen) so you can take a small side trip and rejuvenate in typical Japanese style.