homeMap≫Sacred Site, "Kumano Sanzan"

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

Located in the southeastern part of the Kii Mountain Range, this sacred site consists of three shrines that are distributed 20 to 40 km apart from each other - i.e. Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha -and two temples - i.e. Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji; these shrines and temples are connected by the pilgrimage route known as "Kumano Sankeimichi (Nakahechi)". Originally, each of the three Shinto shrines had its own distinctive form of nature worship; however, under the influence of the Shinto-Buddhist fusion, they came to be revered as the trine deities of Kumano. At the same time, as the belief that the Shinto deities are Japanese incarnations of Buddhas who have manifested themselves to save others became prevalent, the deities of the three shrines were considered to be incarnations of Amida Nyorai, Yakushi Nyorai and Senju Kannon, respectively. As such, this sacred site attracted much religious attention and prospered as an important pilgrimage destination.
The shrine buildings of Kumano Sanzan show unique architectural forms that cannot be found in other types of shrine structures, setting the example for more than 3,000 Kumano-style shrines that have been constructed throughout Japan. The Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji temples became closely associated with Kumano Nachi Taisha as part of the process of Shinto-Buddhist fusion; Fudarakusan-ji in particular is widely known in relation to the ardent search for the Buddhist Pure Land Fudaraku in the southern sea, sought by priests who set sail on the open sea, risking their lives in pursuit of this goal.

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homeMap≫Sacred Site, "Kumano Sanzan"