Kumano Hongu Taisha 熊野本宮大社
This Grand Shrine is part of the Kumano Sanzan, a set of three sacred sites: Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha. The Kumano Sanzan is the main shrines of over 3000 Kumano shrines across Japan. The austere pavilions are made entirely of wood and the graceful roofs are made of cypress bark. This architectural style dates back over 800 years. Watch for the mark of the sacred three legged crow (Yatagarasu) in the shrine precincts, which is the symbol of the Kumano shrines.
Oyunohara is the original shrine ground of the Kumano Hongu Taisha which was destroyed in the 1889 flood. Three years later the pavilions were moved to their present site. All of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes lead to this sacred sandbank. The largest Torii gateway in the world marks its entrance. The open space is the site of festivals and ceremonies, a tradition that reaches back to prehistoric times.
Kumano-gawa River 熊野川
The Kumano-gawa River runs through the village of Hongu on its 183 km journey to the Pacific Ocean. This river is a dominating geographical and spiritual aspect of the Kumano region. Historically pilgrims boated from Kumano Hongu Taisha to Kumano Hayatama Taisha which lead to this section being registered as UNESCO World Heritage as an outstanding example of a waterway pilgrimage route.