In western Japan, at the southernmost tip of Honshū, extending over the Nara, Mie and Wakayama Prefectures, there is a place called the Kii Peninsula, which is almost untouched by human hands and full of nature.
As a matter of fact, this area is the location of a UNESCO World Heritage Site known by the name “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.
This time we are going to introduce the charm of Kumano Nachi Taisha, in the Kii Peninsula. By the way, Kii Peninsula is the area with the greater amount of precipitation in Japan.
What’s special about Kumano Nachi Taisha?
The biggest attraction about Kumano Nachi Taisha is the waterfall on the background of the Shinto shrine. The Nachi falls boast a 133 m height and together with the Kegon falls in Nikkō, Tochigi Pref., and the Fukuroda falls in Ibaraki Prefecture, can be counted among the three famous waterfalls in Japan.
Moreover, looking at it from a religious point of view, Kumano Nachi Taisha is a shrine where Shinto and Buddhism meld.
In the grounds it is possible to see both Shinto and Buddhist architectural styles.
How to get to Kumano Nachi Taisha
To know how to reach Kumano Nachi Taisha, click here!
My impression of Kumano Nachi Taisha
We visited Kumano Nachi Taisha by car. From Osaka, following the coast of the Kii peninsula, as soon as we left the city of Wakayama we entered a world of nature.
On the way I stopped to take a break in Shirahama, but we remember that the sea was so beautiful that we wanted to swim, despite the fact that it was February.
The first night, I slept in a Youth Hostel at Shionomisaki, in the southernmost margin of Honshu.
The second day we left Shionomisaki and in about one hour with the car we arrived in Kumano Nachi Taisha, which is a bit on the inland.
Walking few minutes from the parking area there was the Daimonzaka, a part of the Kumano old road.
The Daimonzaka has beautifully paved stone steps and trees along both sides (these trees are the Japanese sugi, also known as Criptomeria Japonica, abundant on most of the Japanese Mountains). Daimonzaka is reasonably long, about 1.3km, and beyond the 260th step there was a magnificent tree called Meotosugi.
Climbing the Daimonzaka, we saw the Nachi falls in the distance.
That image appears alongside the beautiful three ordered red pagoda of the Seiganto-ji temple, it was a great poscard-like scene.
Climbed up all the Daimonzaka, there were many shops selling souvenirs and snacks.
Here was also the entrance to the Nachi Taisha.
Kumano Nachi Taisha scarlet main shrine surrounded by tall trees was very beautiful and impressive.
This shrine is one of Wakayama Prefecture’s treasures. You should include it in you itinerary when you visit the Kansai region.