The Kumano Kodo is a walking pilgrimage from the West Coast of the Kii Peninsula to three old, Shinto shrines on the East and South of the peninsula. These are Kumano Hongu Taisha, the Kumano Hayatama Taisha and the Kumano Nachi Taisha.
During the 11th century these Grand Shrines were visited by members of the Imperial family from the Imperial Capital in Nara. They would follow the trail across the Kii Peninsula from Wakayama, down to Kii Tanabe and across to Kumano Hongu. From there they would catch a boat down the Kumano River to Shingu, visit Kumano Hayatama Taisha and then walk around the coast and climb up to Kumano Nachi Taisha. By the 15th century it had become a pilgrimage for everyone, not just aristocrats and the trail became so congested the pilgrims were compared to ants as they struggled along.
|The Imperial route (green) and mine (magenta)|
|Section of pilgrim path|
|Typical road section three months after the typhoon|
|Kumano Hongu Taisha|
|Kumano Hayetama Taisha|
|Kumano Nachi Taisha|
|Nachi Falls in the mist|