sites and pilgrimage routes in the kii mountain range
|On July 7th 2004 "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" were granted World Heritage status. It consists of three sacred sites "Yoshino Omine"
which is a place for the "self training", " Kumano
sanzan" which is the center of Kumano belief and "Koyasan"
which is a place for Shingon esoteric Buddhism and the pilgrimage
route connects those places. From ancient times they have been
special sacred sites for Shinto and Buddhism; fueled by various
beliefs such as nature worshipping Shinto and Buddhism from
||Sacred site Koyasan
is located in about 30km west southwest of the "Yoshino
Omine mountains". It is a sacred site whose head temple
is Kongobu-ji, built in 816 as the training grounds in mountains
for Shingon esoteric Buddhism brought from China by Kukai. Garan
in Kogobu-ji is a unique structure with hondo and tahoto based
on the doctrine of Shingon esoteric Buddhism. It is a good model
Garan of Shingon temples all over Japan. The deity of Nibutsuhhime
jinja is the local god around koyasan, they say the god gave
the place to Kukai and enshrined as tutelary deity of Kongobu-ji.
||Sacred site "Kumano sanzan"
sanzan is located southeast of the Kii mountains. There are
three shrines "Kumano hongu, Kumano hayatama, Kumano Nachi"
which are about 20 - 40km apart and two temples "Seiganto-ji,
Fudarakusan-ji". It is said that the three shrines used
different forms of nature worship, but in the latter half of
10 century, they were united and came to be called "Kumano
sanzan" or "Kumano sansho gongen. They became a place
where many members of the imperial family and the aristocracy
came to worship. Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji are called "
Kumano nachi taisha" and have been combined and maintain
worship of both Shinto and Buddhism.
belief in the three sacred sites got more popular, the three
pilgrimage roads called "Omine okugake-michi, Kumano sankei-michi,
and Koyasan choishi-michi" were improved. These roads are
training grounds for people to be close to the sacred places
of Shinto and Buddhism. In a steep and clean natural environment,
the roads remain well maintained and show a cultural scene full
of mountains and forests. Omine okugake-michi, connects Yoshino
Omine and Kumano sanzan which are two big sacred sites, they
are considered the most important training places. Kumano sankei-michi
is the pilgrimage road to Kumano sanzan. It consists of "Nakahechi"
used frequently by people from around Kyoto, "Koheji"
is connected to Koyasan, "Ohechi" is along the coastline
in the southwest part of the Kii peninsula and "Iseji"
is connected to Ise jingu. Koyasan choishi-michi is opened by
Kukai from Jisonin from the foot of Koyasan to the top. There
are stone made signs called choishi in every town.