Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

The Kii Mountain Range has played an important role as an active stage for spiritual and cultural development and interchange since ancient times. Since the earliest times this region has nurtured not only Shinto, Japan's indigenous religion of nature worship, but also Buddhism, which was introduced from China -- to undergo unique development in Japan -- as well as the Shugen sect of ascetic Buddhism, which was formed out of the two. The sacred places in this mountain area, i.e. the sacred sites of Koyasan, Kumano Sanzan, Yoshino and Omine and the pilgrimage routes leading to and linking them, such as Omine Okugakemichi, Kumano Sankeimichi, and Koyasan Choishimichi, remain in an extremely good condition of conservation. They are all the more valuable in view of the fact that they have never ceased to be an active part of the people's daily lives in that region, right up to the present day.

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