Visiting Kumano Sanzan (Kumano three important shrines) in one day.

2018 fall trip to Aomori and Nachi
Yatagarasu (three legs raven) is the symbol of Kumano region.

As I mentioned in the last post, Visited Seikan Train ferry Museum, Memorial ship Hakkodamaru, I gave up on visiting Hokkaido because of the typhoon. I spent one whole day moving to Kii-Katsuura, and on the next day, I went Kumano Sanzan (Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine, Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine). I had many places to visit when I decided to give up Hokkaido. But I had to move to the west because of the typhoon. The weather was very rough by typhoon from the Sea of ​​Japan side to the Tohoku area in northern part of Japan. Kumano-Nachi area had been on my wish list for a long time. And this area was one of the sunny places on that day. It was worth spending one whole day to move to get this area.

I would like to show you my trip report to Kumano Nachi area. I also will tell you the deal for this trip.

Last minutes hotel booking in Kii Katsuura

The hotel is located in front of Katsuura fishin port.

I would like to write a little about the hotel in Kii Katsuura.

As I made significant changes to the schedule, the choice of the hotel in Kii Katsuura was very limited. The lowest price among them was “Business Hotel Blue Harbor” which is located at the place facing Katsuura fisherman’s harbor. The price was 4,800 yen per night.

The room and facilities themselves have no character at all. It was very common “Japanese Style Business Hotel”. The room was very small and nothing fancy.

Since it was 4,800 yen per night, I did not have excessive expectations. I had no complains at all.

However the location was very good. It faces Katsuura harbor and I was able to go out to the roof from the top floor where there is a coin laundromat. I could overlook Katsuura harbor.

Nice view from the rooftop of the hotel

Hotels in Kii-Katsuura

The hotel offers free coffee and bread at the lobby from 7am. But since I started action before 7am, I did not see it. The hotel’s Wi-Fi was not its own. It was a public Wi-Fi in Wakayama prefecture and the connection was very bad. It was disconnected very often and whenever it was disconnected, the approval, terms and condition window was open. The hotel rate was very affordable but I thought the hotel should improve it.

From Nachi station to Daimonzaka and walk to Kumano Nachi Taisha

The entrance of Daimonzaka

Kii Katsuura Station 07:18 (JR local train) 07:23 Nachi Station 07:33 (Kumano Kotsu Bus) 07:44 (walking Daimonzaka) 08:10 Nachi Tourist Center / Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine

The first destination to visit three companies was Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine which can be accessed from Kii Katsuura.

Although I was able to take a bus from Kii Katsuura station, I wanted to see Nachi station. So I had a short train ride to Nachi station from Kii Katsuura station.

Local train just arrived at Kii Katsuura station.
Nachi station platforms
Nachi station building. This is an unmanned station.

I took a bus for Nachi Taisha from Nachi station. There are several bus stops around Nachi station. But the bus stop for Nachi Taisha Shrine is just in front of Nachi station building.

Information of the bus stops at Nachi station

I disembarked the bus at Daimonzaka bus stop on the way to Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine. Daimonzaka is a part of the Kumano Kodo that goes to Nachi Taisha. This trail is such a short distance but you can taste the atmosphere of Kumano Kodo.

Train of Daimonzaka. It is a cobblestone road.

When you can see paved roads and vending machines, Daimonzaka is over. If you go up the stairs, you can get Nachisan Tourist Center.

Nachi Tourist Center is the end of the train.

After getting off the bus at Daimonzaka bus stop, it took 25 minutes to get to Nachi tourist center. I walked at the fast pace. But it is not very challenging to complete in half an hour. Actually you can walk easily in less than an hour even if you walk slowly enjoying the emotions.

The total length of Daimonzaka is about 1 km which includes the distance from the Daimonzaka bus stop to the entrance of the trail. The elevation gain is 600 m.

It is the best route to enjoy the atmosphere of Kumano Kodo easily and it is recommended for all generations.

Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine, Seiganto-ji temple and Nachi falls are same location.

Approach to Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine

From the Nachisan Tourist Center, just follow the signs along the way, mostly going up on the stairs and you will arrive at the entrance of Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine in about 10 minutes. The stairway upstairs might be harder than walking on Daimonzaka.

Torii gate a the entrance of Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine

The precincts of Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine are not that large.

Main hall of Kumano Nachi Taisha was under construction unfortunately.

I passed through the right side of the main hall of Kumano Nachi Taisha and I got the gate of Seiganto-ji Temple. About 150 years ago, “Shinto” (the traditional religion of Japan) and Buddhism were separated by Japan Government order. At that time, many Buddhist halls in shrines were abolished. In Kumano area, only the Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine left the Buddhist temple, and it seems he reconstructed it as Seiganto-ji Temple. Now Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and Seiganto-ji Temple are almost unified.

Seiganto-ji temple main hall was also under construction.

I proceed to the right side of the main hall of Seiganto-ji Temple, I found Nachi Waterfall in the distance.

Landscape from the right side of Seiganto-ji main hall. A waterfall is seen in the distance

I walked about 5 minutes, I could see the scenery of the three-stories pagoda and waterfalls.

Most well known scene in Kumano region

You can walk as far as the waterfall, and you can return to Kii Katsuura Station from Nachis Falls bus stop. But i returned to Nachi Tourist Center. Because I wanted to buy “Kumano Kotsu YuYu Free 3 days” that offered the unlimited ride of the Kumano Kotsu Bus local line in this area.

Kumano Kotsu Yuyu Free 3 days

Kumano Kotsu Bus covers the route to Kumano three shrines. I could get unlimited ride for 3 days and the price is 3,000 yen. Even though I used this pass for one day only, this was worth buying it for me. Because the one way fare from Shingu station to Kumano Hongu Shrine is 1,540 yen. I could get the worth of this pass just by this round-trip. It is also sold at Kumano Kotsu Bus Sales Office in front of the Kii Katsuura station. However the office was open at 8 o’clock in the morning. I was leaving Kii Katsuura station after 7 o’clock so I could not purchase it. I wanted to buy it at the Nachi Tourist Center and cover all the bus rides after this.

Regarding this ticket, even on the official website of Kumano Kotsu Bus, it is not shown clearly. But please check the introduction page directly with the link below. But sorry it is shown in Japanese only.

Kumano Kotsu Bus official site, Kumano Kotsu YuYu Free 3 days

If you go around Kumano three shrines, this free ticket is essential.

Katsuura Fishing Port Bustling market on tuna branch

Nigiwai Ichiba at Katsuura Fishing Port

Nachi Tourist Center 09: 10 (Kumano Traffic Bus) 0 9:35 Kii Katsuura Station

I took a bus from Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and came back to Kii Katsuura Station. Since I had about two hours to leave the train moving to Shingu, I devoted it to the time of branch and souvenir purchase at the Katsuura fishing port’s market, “Nigiwai Ichiba”.

Clean and fillet a big tuna fish in the market

Temperature rose to nearly 30 degrees although it was in early October. As I walked lots from early morning in the weather like early summer, I rewarded myself even still in the morning period. I made a little extravagance with the local fresh tuna don and a glass of local craft beer.

Fresh tuna rice bowl with local craft IPA

This market faced the Katsuura fishing port and I spent a pleasant time hitting the sea breeze on the wood deck terrace.

Move from Katsuura to Shingu, kill time to bus time

Breathtaking scenery between Katsuura and Shingu

Kii Katsuura Station 11:34 (Limited Express Kuroshio 1) 11:49 Shingu Station

Before I visit there, I was looking for accommodation, and I searched for both Kii Katsuura and Shingu. No hotel was found in Shingu. However I reached Shingu and I understood the reason why. Shingu is a gateway to Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine and Dorokyo gorge. And Shingu is the central city of this area. But there are some small accommodation facilities and a few shops in front of the station. The center of Shingu is a bit away from the station. It is along Kumano Kaido which is a major street in this area. The bus for Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine goes through 10 minutes after leaving Shingu Station. Shingu station is like just a transit point to each sightseeing spots.

Shingu station building

I had a little time to leave the bus, I walked around Shingu station. I visited Xu Fu Park. It is located just in front of the station.

Chinese gate at Xu Fu Park

I looked at the Shingu station from the railroad crossing.

Since Shingu station is the base of operations and the boundary station between JR West and JR Tokai, there are many side tracks. The train set of the panda wrapping was there.

Kumano Kotsu Bus to Kumano Hongu Taisha

The bus to Kumano Hongu Taisha was very common commute type bus.

Shingu station 12:15 (Kumano Kotsu bus) 13:16 Kumano main shrine

In addition to Kumano Kotsu Bus, Meiko Bus and Nara Kotsu Bus also run on this section. But Kumano Kotsu YuYu Free covers only Kumano Kotsu Bus.

The bus leaving Shingu station carried both the local high school student and the tourist, and ran along Kumano river. The flow of the Kumano River is usually blue, but it seems that it rained heavily day before. The river was brown and muddy. An old lady of a souvenir shop along the approach road to Kumano Nachi Taisha said that the stairs were like waterfalls day before.

Mountain side seemed to collapse.

When I saw the huge torii gate, it was time to arrive at the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine. The bus stop is located just crossing the road from the entrance of the approach to Kumano Hongu Taisha.

Kumano Hongu Taisha entrance

I had heard that the middle of the approach was God’s way. I just followed the manners that upload is right end, descent is left end, and climb the stairs.

Compare to Nachi Taisha, the distance to the main shrine was not as much as I thought. I could go to the main shrine in about 5 minutes from the bus stop.

The entrance of the main hall. Photo and video shooting are prohibited after this entrance.

After worshiping the main hall, I walked to Oyunohara there is the biggest torii of Japan at the opposite side of the road. The cicadas were singing and the sunny sky was high. It was really like summer day.

Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine is also known as the god of Japanese football. “Yatagarasu” (three legs raven) is the symbolic existence of Kumano area. And this raven is also designed for the emblem of Japanese national soccer team.

Soccer Japanese national team emblem

Before the important games such as the World Cup, the Japan Football Association visits here and wishes to win a game. The information hall next to the bus stop displays a lot of balls with big name signs of the Japanese football world.

The autograph of Akira Nishino who was a head coach of 2018 World Cup

The last destination of Kumano Sanzan, Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine

Approach to Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine

Kumano Hongu Taisha 14:20 (Kumano Kotsu Bus) 15:15 Gongenmae bus stop (5 min walk) Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine

Take Kumano Kotsu Bus to Shingu station again and return on the same route. On the way back, I got off at Gongenmae bus stop. It is much closer to get off here than walking from Shingu station. As the announcement is made before reaching Gongenmae, you cannot miss it.

The entrance of Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine

Kumano Hayatama Taisha is less popular than the other two major shrines, it was much quieter than two shrines.

Main halls of Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine

Visited Shingu castle ruins

After that, I planned to move to Nagoya by Limited Express Nanki 8. But the departure time of Nanki 8 was scheduled at 17:30. I still had a lots of time so I tried climbing the Shingu castle ruins.

The entrance of Shingu Castle ruins

Since the castle itself is not existed at all, it seemed to climb up to the hill. I climbed up this with any detailed information. I expected to see the town of Shingu and the Kumano river at the top. The distance was not that much, but it was a hot day and I was sweaty.

A few parts of the castle are still existed.

Although Shingu does not have any high-rise buildings, it was still not a feeling of looking down at the altitude of Shingu castle ruins.

Landscape of Shingu city

However, at the other side, I could see Kumano river. If this was not muddy water, I could imagine that it is a pretty beautiful landscape.

Kumano river from the top of ruins

Still had a time and I went to Asuka Shrine

After seeing Shingu castle ruins, I went back to Shingomiya station, but it was still about an hour, so I visited one more shrine near Shingu station which was Asuka shrine.

I prayed lots at many shrines. My wishes will come true soon!

Finally I bought a can of beer and bought a pack of deep fried chicken. I was enjoying the last part of the trip in the train, Limited Express Nanki 8. But due to signal failure at the Yokkaichi station on the way to Nagoya, I was forced to get off the train at Tsu station and had to switch to Kintetsu Railway. In addition, because the F1 Grand Prix was held at Suzuka on the same day, the train became superfluous. My trip finally came to a close at Nagoya station.

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