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Day 8 – KUMANO NACHI TAISHA, Kumano Kodo (熊野古道) 1 of 2, Japan

After we dropped off our bags at the train station of Kii Katsuura, we took a local bus up to Nachisan, where we would visit the famous Kumano Nachi Taisha, Seiganto-ji Temple and Nachi Waterfall.  We arrived at Daimon-zaka, part of the old cobblestone pilgrim steps that leads up to the sacred Kumano Nachi Taisha, just before noontime. Flanked by old Japanese cedar trees and bamboo groves, the atmospheric Daimon-zaka was the last stretch of the old Kumano Kodo we hiked. We walked on the Daimon-zaka for about half an hour before reaching the main uphill path that leads up to the temple site.

After some more steps and uphill paths, we found ourselves reaching the red torii gate of Kumano Nachi Taisha. The temple ground was packed with tourists, both local and foreign, all were drawn to here by the orange coloured shrine structures, and the iconic three-storey pagoda. The pagoda is part of Seiganto-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple that shares the same site of Kumano Nachi Taisha for centuries. On the way walking to the pagoda, we passed by the most popular vista of Nachi Taisha: the orange pagoda in front of Nachi Waterfall (Nachi no Taki), the tallest waterfall in Japan at 133m. From the pagoda, it was another short hike to the base of the waterfall, where a small shrine and a viewing platform stood.

We then took a bus back to Kii Katsuura.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACenturies old Japanese cedar lined up along the path of Daimon-zaka.

02Along Daimon-zaka, small shrines and bamboo groves added a layer of mystical atmosphere.

03The stones of Daimon-zaka had witnessed centuries of pilgrims in and out of Nachisan.

04The orange torii of Nachi Taisha.

05The shrine structure in the complex of Nachi Taisha.

06A main structure in the taisha complex.

07Little device for worshipers to make their wishes.

08Small wooden plagues for worshipers to write down their wishes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeiganto-ji Temple, the Buddhist temple adjacent to the Kumano Nachi Taisha.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStatue of a monk in front of Seiganto-ji Temple.

11The iconic pagoda behind Seiganto-ji, with Nachi Waterfall in the background.

12At 133m Nachi no Taki is the tallest waterfall in Japan.

13Wild flowers and bamboo groves along the way to the base of the waterfall.

14A small shrine at the base of Nachi no Taki.

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Read other posts on 2015 Kansai…
Day 1.0 – Kansai Japan 2015
Day 1.1 – Hanami, Mount Yoshino 
Day 1.2 – Feast under the Shades of Sakura, Mount Yoshiko
Day 2 – A Day in Kobe
Day 3 – A Day in Central Osaka
Day 4 – Tanabe – Prelude of the Kumano Kodo
Day 5.1 – Takijiri to Takahara, Kumano Kodo
Day 5.2 – Takahara to Tsugizakura , Kumano Kodo
Day 5.3 – Minshuku Tsugizakura, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.1 – Tsugizakura to Mikoshi-Toge Pass, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.2 – Mikoshi-Toge Pass to Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.1 – Ryokan Adumaya, Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.2 – Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.4 – Wataze Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.1 – Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.2 – Kii Katsuura, Kumano Kodo
Day 9 – Church of Light, Osaka