Kumano Nachi Taisha is a Shinto
Shrine, and is one of the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano ("Kumano
Sanzan" in Japanese).
It is located on the mountainside located about 9 km northwest of central Katsuura town.
It is a part of "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain
Range" designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
(See the page of Kumano Kodo.)
It is said that it was founded in 317 in legend. It is sure that it had
existed in the 8th century.
And the first shrine was built after the construction of the other two shrines of Kumano Sanzan (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha).
The precincts is at the level of about 500 meters, and there are six
Old Kumano faith had accepted both the gods of Shinto and Jodoshu (Pure Land Buddhism), so there are many Buddha statues in the Shinto shrines.
If you want to visit all of three shrines of Kumano Sanzan in a day,
there is a sightseeing bus tour from Katsuura.
It leaves from Katsuura station at 8:30, visits three shrines, and returns back to the station around 15:40.
The tour fare with lunch is 8,500 yen.
Nachi Falls is one of the famous waterfalls in Japan, and is located
about 1 km north of Kumano Nachi Taisha.
It is on Nachi River, and the height is 133 meters and the width is about 13 meters.
This waterfall has been the sacred body of Kumano area, and it has been worshiped.
Originally, Kumano Nachi Taisha was built near this waterfall, but it had been moved at the current place later.
There is Hirou Shrine at the foot of the waterfall.
Hirou Shrine has no hall of worship. We worship the waterfall there directly.
It is a Buddhist temple in the same site of Kumano Nachi Taisha.
It is said that it was founded in the 4th century by Ragyo-Shonin, a priest who had drifted from India. The foundation was prior to the introduction of Buddhism from China in the 6th century.
There are several buildings, and the main hall was rebuilt in 1590.
The beautiful three-story pagoda was rebuilt in 1972, and it is very popular to take a picture of the scenery with both the pagoda and Nachi Falls.
It is also a Buddhist temple founded by Ragyo-Shonin, and is near the
mouth of Nachi River.
The name "Fudaraku" came from a word meaning "Pure Land" in Classical Sanskrit.
It had been believed that there was the Pure Land beyond the ocean, in the ancient times.
So a believer or a priest to hope to go to the Pure Land was sent toward the ocean from the shore near this temple by ship, as a ceremony.
But the room with the traveler on the ship was closed, and the ship had no power to move. Literally, the traveler had gone to the Pure Land in the ocean.
The ceremony had been performed in this temple 20 times between 868 and 1722. But no one had known what became of the travelers.
In the temple, the restored ship to the Pure Land is displayed.
By route bus, about 25 minutes from Kii-Katsuura station to Nachisan.
To Fudarakusanji, get off at Nachi-eki stop. About 8 minutes from Kii-Katsuura.
(Nachi-eki is by Nachi station on JR Kisei Line. But the train service is much less frequent.)
©Wakayama Prefecture / ©JNTO
©Wakayama Prefecture / ©JNTO