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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Japan’s Shrine of Non secular Awakening • Simply One Cookbook


Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the crucial revered shrines in Japan, reveals a wealthy historical past and religious significance. Let’s journey by the realm to find out about its historical rituals and beautiful structure that continues to draw guests searching for enlightenment.

Wooden ShrineWooden Shrine

Set amidst the tranquil vistas of Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, rests the esteemed Kumano Hongu Taisha, often known as the Kumano Grand Shrine. This sacred Shinto sanctuary carries a profound heritage and religious resonance, standing as an integral element of the Kumano Sanzan, a trio of distinguished shrines. It additionally serves as the pinnacle of over 3000 Kumano shrines throughout Japan, making it a focus for pilgrims journeying alongside the traditional Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes.

Its majestic torii gate, the biggest in Japan, captivates vacationers and pilgrims alike, beckoning them to embark on a profound journey of self-discovery and religious awakening.

In my different submit, we visited the primary of the three grand shrines, Kumano Nachi Taisha at Nachi Waterfall; you possibly can examine it right here!

With a lot historical past, legends, and thriller ready to be uncovered, it’s time to get exploring!

What’s the Kumano Kodo?

For over 1,000 years, the mountainous area of Kumano has been revered because the legendary ‘land of the gods.’ Throughout the Heian Period (794 – 1185), members of the imperial family undertook a grueling journey from the previous capital, Kyoto, to this secluded space. This arduous pilgrimage spanned over 30 days, pushed by the hope of discovering heaven on earth. Throughout the Kumano area, the three grand shrines have been established: Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha, collectively referred to as the Kumano Sanzan.

Wooden ShrineWooden Shrine

These three shrines mixed the Shintoism and Buddhism faiths, a observe referred to as Shinbutsu-shugo. This continued till the Meiji authorities issued a proclamation ordering the separation of the 2 religions in 1868.

The Kumano Kodo, a community of pilgrimage routes spanning the Kii mountain vary and connecting the Kumano Sanzan, is greater than only a bodily journey. It’s a path believed to supply a transformative religious expertise and nice benefit. Traditionally wanted by members of the imperial household and emperors, this journey is now pursued by folks from all corners of the globe.

Stone stairs lines with treesStone stairs lines with trees

In a testomony to their historic and cultural significance, the Kumano Kodo was granted UNESCO World Heritage standing in July 2004. It’s now included within the ‘Sacred Websites and Pilgrimage Routes within the Kii Mountain Vary’.

Tips on how to Get to Kumano Hongu Taisha

Kumano Hongu Taisha might be accessed by bus from three places. Nevertheless, there’s restricted availability, so please verify the bus timetables and plan accordingly.

From Goto Station

In case you are exploring across the Nara area, that is the best choice. From Goto Station, board the no. 301 bus, which takes you to Hongu Taisha-mae bus cease. The journey takes roughly 5 hours and prices 3250 yen a technique (costs in 2024). You may view the timetable right here.

From Shingu Station

From the east coast of Wakayama Prefecture, you possibly can board both the no. 51, 53, 90, or 302 bus from Shingu Station to Hongu Taisha-mae bus cease. The journey takes roughly 70 minutes and prices 1560 yen a technique. Alongside the best way, there are three common onsen—Kawayu, Wataze, and Yunomine Onsen—that guests can cease by. Not all buses make stops at these onsen, so it’s advisable to verify the timetable in keeping with your itinerary.

From Kii Tanabe Station

Lastly, from the west coast of Wakayama Prefecture, board bus no. 81, 85, 91, or 95 from Kii Tanabe Station. It is going to take simply over two hours to Hongu Taisha-mae bus cease. A one-way journey prices 2100 yen. You may view the total timetable right here.

By Automobile

I all the time suggest driving in Japan, particularly in case you are in a bunch. Should you’re not sure about driving in Japan, try our Japan Driving Information. Whereas tolls might be costly, sharing the fee between 2-4 folks could make it very cost-efficient. Plus, you possibly can discover wherever and everytime you need. Driving by the mountains of the Kumano area is especially particular, with continuous breathtaking views alongside the best way.

Mountain rangesMountain ranges

Kumano Hongu Taisha

Hidden among the many tall cypress timber, you’ll discover the doorway to Kumano Hongu Taisha marked by a big torii gate.

As you step by the torii gateway, you’ll really feel the shrine’s immense historical past with the fluttering of flags and towering cedar timber, creating a way of attract, surprise, and serenity.

Midway up the 158 stone steps, purify your self on the Chozuya (water basin) below the watchful eye of Yatagarasu, the three-legged crow. Take a look at my Japan shrines and temples etiquette information to be taught the right etiquette when visiting Japan’s shrines and temples.

On the prime of the steps is a Jyuhosho (shrine store), the place you possibly can decide up omamori (amulets), omikuji (fortunes), and varied different shrine items.

To the left is the shrine workplace, and simply in entrance is the Hiden, the place kannushi (Shinto monks) pray to gods on behalf of worshippers. Two Komainu, stone lion-esque statues, sit to purge evil spirits from the sanctuary.

Shrine main hallShrine main hall

Passing by the Shinmon (entrance gate) results in the Honden (fundamental corridor), the place you possibly can admire the beautiful structure and thatched roof created from cypress shingles. The data board subsequent to the Shinmon lists 4 completely different praying spots, every in a particular order.

Wooden ShrineWooden Shrine
People praying at a wooden shrinePeople praying at a wooden shrine

Kumano Hongu Taisha enshrines Izanagi-Okami, the deity who gave delivery to Japan, and Ketsumimiko-Okami, who strives to assist humanity. Individuals go to to hope for concord of their houses, a cheerful marriage, and a protracted life.

Spring and Autumn Festivals

Each spring, from April thirteenth to fifteenth, you possibly can benefit from the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Competition. Fathers and sons purify themselves within the close by Yunomine Onsen earlier than strolling over the Dainichi-goe part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage path to Oyunohara whereas carrying conventional costumes. The kids have the kanji 大, which means “large,” written on their foreheads and should be carried all through the entire journey with out touching the bottom.

On April fifteenth, the competition culminates with a parade carrying a transportable mikoshi shrine, housing the Kumano Deities. The mikoshi is spun and tossed within the air because it makes its rounds, purifying the village. It ends at Oyunohara with varied rituals and celebrations, together with fireplace rituals and a mochi rice cake scramble.

Sadly, I missed out by a few weeks, however I’ll should make the journey again sooner or later.

Stone monument with engraved birdStone monument with engraved bird

In August, don’t miss the Yata-no-Hello Hearth Competition, which started in 1999. Legend has it that Yatagarasu, the three-legged crow, guided Emperor Jinmu when he turned misplaced within the mountains of Kumano. In honor of this story, a transportable shrine manufactured from metal and adorned with a Yatagarasu motif is carried by ladies in conventional costumes in a parade from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Oyunohara. The competition reaches its climax with a Taiko drum efficiency, conventional dancing, and fireworks!

Kitchen Restaurant きっちん

All through the realm, you will discover varied eating places and cafes. As I visited on a Monday, a typical vacation for outlets in Japan, many have been closed.

I made a decision on Kitchen, a small family-style restaurant, for a bowl of udon and mehairzushi (rice ball wrapped in mustard greens pickled in salt). General, it was a normal bowl of udon, nothing too particular, however tasty sufficient to maintain me fueled for extra exploring!

Oyunohara: The Unique Kumano Hongu Taisha

Simply behind きっちん is Oyunohara (大斎原), the unique website of Kumano Hongu Taisha. It’s positioned on the sandbank on the confluence of the Kumano and Otonashi Rivers. In 1889, an amazing flood destroyed three of the shrine’s buildings earlier than it was determined to maneuver the remaining ones to their present location.

Its entrance is marked by the biggest Torii gate in Japan, standing at a staggering 34 meters! The bottom is blanketed in a hue of pink throughout cherry blossom season.

The encompassing surroundings lets you admire Wakayama’s mountainous magnificence and serenity as you embark in your religious journey.

You’ll discover a small stone shrine with much more cherry blossoms inside. Surprisingly, regardless of being in full bloom, there was subsequent to nobody there, making it an amazing spot to get pleasure from hanami (cherry blossom viewing). There have been sturdy winds throughout my go to, so I additionally received to get pleasure from some sakura fubuki (cherry blossom snowstorm), as you possibly can see on the Instagram reel!

That wraps it up for Kumano Hongu Taisha! Regardless of which season you go to, there’s breathtaking surroundings to be discovered and limitless exploring to find Kumano’s wealthy historical past and traditions.

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