Posted by: 栗本奈央子(Naoko Kurimoto) 24 Jul 2017

Recommended for summer! healing by the waterfall at Kumano Nachi shrine: The shrine of the month

Recommended for summer! healing by the waterfall at Kumano Nachi shrine: The shrine of the month © N.Kurimoto

"The shrine of the month" is a project that a journal-loving reporter that authors and others have begun to teach others more about the charm of shrines. Once a month we will introduce a shrine for the next sit months. We will introduce various shrines throughout the country from amulets to shrines that are related to famous historical figures.

Profile for this month's shrine

Name: Kumano Nachi Taisha (
Ogonjin: Omamoto Takashi (Opinomachi Mikoto, the powerful force)
Money benefit: longevity long life etc.

A natural shrine of worship with no halls

The recommendation point of Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine is in the other shrine Shingu Shinto. As you go through the shrine's torii, there is a "Nachi waterfall" which has a height of 133 meters. There is no hall of worship or enshrinement of a god here like in most temples. Actually, at Futaki shrine, the waterfall is the god. Since ancient times in Japan people have seen natural waterfalls and rocks, as objects of worship, this shrine is one of them. The waterfall passing through the torii gate is a scene which can be said to be a symbol of natural worship.

Stand in front of the Torii, first bow. Pay the 300 yen visitation fee at the entrance on the left to prey closely to the waterfall. As a memorial, when you pay a visitor fee at the entrance, you can have a palm-sized amulet made of paper. There is also a spot where you can drink "The water of long life" through the entrance. It has a mellow taste and is quite delicious. It makes you feel healthy.

Then you can enjoy the sacred and clear air while watching the waterfall that flows down at a rate of 1 ton per second. As you approach the waterfall, the mist rises and when you take a deep breath, the air containing a fragrance of greenery and moisture enters the body. Just standing there will refresh a tired mind and body. It is an unusual experience even among shrines in Japan that you can touch the god water directly and drink it into your body.

After Futaki Shrine, you can climb the slope further using the stairs to the main shrine of Kumano Nachi shrine and the Aokogiji Temple next to it. It is recommended because you can see the whole view of the waterfall from the Aokiga Temple's grounds.

The path to an elegant shrine

There are several routes going to Kumano Nachi Taisha, the recommended route is Kumano Kodo road. Kumano Kodo is an old road leading to the Kumano Nachi shrine called Kumano Miyama, Kumano Honkya Shrine and Kumano Hayato Taisha Shrine from various places. Among the routes are Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture and Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture from Kumano Miyama There is a route that was used for pilgrimage like the Santiago de Compostela that spans through Spain and France.

The Kumano Kodo is known for being a cobblestone road. In Kumano Nachi there is also a cobblestone road along the path towards the Taisha Shrine. Cedar and cypress trees line the side of the road which shelter travelers from the sun. You is even a forest hot springs you can enjoy.

At the Daimonzaka Tea house near the slope of Daimonzaka, you can rent out Heian era costumes which are popular to those visiting Kumano Miyama. It is surprisingly cool and easy to walk in these costumes regardless of their appearance, you can enjoy walking around like in the Heian era.

If you walk a bit, there is a hot springs too

As a shrine lover, if I went to Kumano Nachi Taisha to visit, I would want to see the remaining two shrines of Miyama Kumano. However, for those who aren't interested in walking all the shrines, it is recommended to take a bus to Kumano Miyama.

In addition, Kumano Misan is surrounded by hot springs such as Kawayu Onsen where you can enjoy yourself in the hot springs along the river and "Tsubo Yu" hot springs, said to be the oldest hot spring in Japan. There's also a hotel so you can stay at ease. At the hot springs where I stayed, there was a spit source for the hot water, a place where you can cook eggs and vegetables with the heat of a hot spring. The eggs and sweet potatoes were reasonably salty from the hot springs and they were very tasty. To everyone reading this, please try it!

栗本奈央子 / Naoko Kurimoto

栗本奈央子 / Naoko Kurimoto

This is Naoko Kurimoto.I'm reporter for the Travel Vison; online travel trade media.I'm really into Shinto shrine!