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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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


Uncover the wealthy historical past and non secular significance of Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the revered shrines in Japan. Find out about its historical rituals and beautiful structure that continues to draw guests searching for enlightenment.

Wooden ShrineWooden Shrine

Nestled throughout the serene landscapes of Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, lies the revered Kumano Hongu Taisha (Kumano Grand Shrine). It’s a sacred Shinto shrine steeped in wealthy historical past and non secular significance, and a part of the Kumano Sanzan (trio of grand shrines). It’s also the pinnacle of over 3000 Kumano shrines throughout Japan. And a focus for pilgrims journeying alongside the traditional Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes.

Its majestic torii gate (the most important in Japan) captivates vacationers and pilgrims who wish to embark on a profound journey of self-discovery and non secular awakening.

In my different publish, we explored the primary of the three grand shrines, Kumano Nachi Taisha at Nachi Waterfall; you’ll be able to learn right here!

With a lot historical past, legends, and thriller 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 thought of the legendary “land of the gods.” In the course of the Heian Period (794 – 1185), members of the imperial family trekked from the outdated capital, Kyoto, to this secluded space. The arduous journey took over 30 days, with the hope of discovering heaven on earth. Throughout the Kumano area, the three grand shrines had been established. Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha, forming the identify Kumano Sanzan.

Wooden ShrineWooden Shrine

These three shrines mixed the Shintoism and Buddhism faiths, often called Shinbutsu-shugo. This stayed 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 a bodily journey. It’s a path believed to supply a transformative non secular expertise and nice benefit. This journey has traditionally been wanted by members of the imperial household, emperors, and now 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 acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage standing in July 2004. It’s now a part of the “Sacred Websites and Pilgrimage Routes within the Kii Mountain Vary.”

How one can Get to Kumano Hongu Taisha

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

From Goto Station

If you’re exploring across the Nara area, that is the most suitable 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 method (costs in 2024). You may view the timetable right here.

From Shingu Station

From the east coast of Wakayama Prefecture, board no. 51, 53, 90, or 302 bus from Shingu Station to Hongu Taisha-mae bus cease. It takes roughly 70 minutes and prices 1560 yen a method. There are three fashionable onsen alongside the way in which, Kawayu, Wataze, and Yunomine Onsen guests can cease by. Nevertheless, not all buses cease there, so please test the timetable to board the proper bus 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’ll take simply over two hours to Hongu Taisha-mae bus cease. A one-way journey prices 2100 yen. You may view the complete timetable right here.

By Automotive

I at all times suggest driving in Japan, particularly in case you are in a gaggle. For those who aren’t positive about driving in Japan, try our Japan Driving Information. Whereas tolls could be costly, sharing the price between 2-4 folks can turn out to be very cost-efficient. Plus, you’ll be able to discover wherever and everytime you need. Driving by means of the mountains of the Kumano area is especially particular, with continuous breathtaking views alongside the way in which.

Mountain rangesMountain ranges

Kumano Hongu Taisha

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

As you step by means of the torii gateway, you’ll really feel the shrine’s immense historical past with the flutters of flags and towering cedar bushes, 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 in the event you’re uncertain of the correct methods to when visiting them.

On the prime of the steps is a Jyuhosho (shrine store), the place you’ll be able to choose 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 clergymen) 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 means of the Shinmon (entrance gate) results in the Honden (most important corridor), the place you’ll be able to respect the beautiful structure and thatched roof comprised of cypress shingles. The data board subsequent to the Shinmon lists 4 totally different praying spots, every in a specific 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 beginning to Japan, and Ketsumimiko-Okami, who strives to assist humanity. Individuals go to to hope for concord within the house, a contented marriage, and a protracted life.

Spring and Autumn Festivals

Each spring, from April thirteenth to fifteenth, you’ll be able to benefit from the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Pageant. Fathers and sons purify themselves within the closeby Yunomine Onsen earlier than strolling over the Dainichi-goe part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage path to Oyunohara whereas carrying conventional costumes. The youngsters have the kanji 大, which means “huge,” written on their brow, and should carried all through the entire journey with out touching the bottom.

On April fifteenth, the competition climaxes with a parade carrying a conveyable mikoshi shrine invoked with the Kumano Deities. The mikoshi is spun and tossed within the air because it makes its rounds, purifying the village. It ends 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 need to make the journey again in the future.

Stone monument with engraved birdStone monument with engraved bird

In August, go to the Yata-no-Hello Fireplace Pageant, which began in 1999. Legend states that Yatagarasu, the three-legged crow, confirmed the way in which to Emperor Jinmu, who had misplaced his manner within the mountains of Kumano. In honor of this story, a conveyable shrine manufactured from metal and adorned with a Yatagarasu motif is accompanied by girls in conventional costume parades from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Oyunohara. The competition climaxes with a Taiko drum present, dancing, and fireworks!

Kitchen Restaurant きっちん

All through the realm, you’ll find varied eating places and cafes. Nevertheless, I visited on a Monday, a standard vacation for outlets in Japan, so many had 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). Total, it was an ordinary bowl of udon. Nothing too particular however tasty sufficient to maintain me fueled for extra exploring!

Oyunohara: The Authentic Kumano Hongu Taisha

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

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

The encircling surroundings lets you respect Wakayama’s mountainous magnificence and serenity as you embark in your non secular journey.

You’ll discover a small stone shrine with much more cherry blossoms inside. Surprisinly, regardless of being in full bloom, there was subsequent to nobody there. Making it an awesome spot to take pleasure in hanami (cherry blossom viewing.) There have been robust winds throughout my go to, so I additionally received to take pleasure in some sakura fubuki (cherry blossom snowstorm), you’ll be able to see on the Instagram reel!

That wraps it up for Kumano Hongu Taisha! It doesn’t matter what season you go, there’s breathtaking surroundings to be discovered and infinite exploring to find Kumano’s wealthy historical past and traditions.

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