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Kumano Hayatama Taisha Sanctuary

Kumano Hayatama Taisha is one of the three main Kumano shrines, along with Hongu Taisha and Nachi Taisha, and is located in Shingu City on the southeastern coast of the Kii Peninsula. This shrine has a history dating back to at least the 12th century, although religious artifacts from the 3rd century have been found, indicating that the area has been a place of worship for much longer.

According to an ancient myth, the gods of Kumano descended to earth on a rock near the shrine, which is revered as a sacred object. Within the shrine grounds, there is also an ancient tree more than 800 years old that is considered equally sacred, reflecting the region’s deep tradition of nature worship.

The shrine stands out not only for its religious significance, but also for its cultural heritage. More than a dozen national treasures are displayed in the Hayatama Taisha Treasury, including offerings brought by pilgrims from the Kumano Kodo, making this collection one of the most impressive even compared to large museums.

Kumano Hayatama Taisha is also known for two dynamic festivals: the Mifune Matsuri, in which local youths compete in a boat race on the Kumano-gawa River, and the Oto Matsuri, a fire festival held every year on February 6 at the Kamikura-jinja Shrine, located at the base of Gotobiki-iwa Rock on Mt. Gongen. The shrine was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004 as part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes of the Kii Mountains.


    • Address
      1番地 Shingu, Wakayama 647-0081, Japan
    • Web
    • Visiting Hours
      Everyday from 5:00 to 17:00
    • What to see
      Wooden Sanctuary, sacred tree

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