The Nanki Kumano Geopark spans across Wakayama and Nara Prefectures, and has been recognized as a Geopark since August 2014. The site is held in high regard internationally, and there you can observe the various rare landforms created by tectonic plate activity, as well as come into contact with a wide variety of flora and fauna such as the rare bird, Styan’s grasshopper warbler, and Shiinotomoshibitake, a rare luminous fungus. The geosites include the Hashigui-iwa Rock, a string of mysterious natural rock formations that appear to be the stakes of a bridge; the Gotobiki-iwa Rock at Kamikura-jinja Shrine, an enshrined huge rock at the south side of Mt. Gongenyama which was described in legends as the rock that the Gods of Kumano descended upon; and the Ichimai-iwa Monolith located at the Kozagawa River, a popular scenic landscape amongst photographers.
The Nachi Waterfall located along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route is also a part of the geosites. The belief in Kumano as a pure Buddhist Land arose from the unique mixture of Shinto and Buddhism in old Japan and the generations of Imperial Family in Kyoto took more than 100 pilgrimage trips to Kumano from the 11th to 13th century. You can also visit the Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine located nearby as you follow in the footsteps of the old Kumano faith.
Nanki Kumano Geopark
Access :10 municipalities including Shingu City, Shirahama-cho, Kamitonda-cho, Susami-cho, Nachikatsuura-cho, Taiji-cho, Kozagawa-cho, Kitayama-mura, Kushimoto-cho in Wakayama Prefecture and part of Totsukawa Village in Nara Prefecture
How to get there :From Kansai International Airport, take the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service for 15 minutes to Hineno Station. At Hineno station, transfer to JR Kinokuni line and depending on your destination, either get off at JR Shirahama Station or JR Kushimoto Station or JR Shingu Station.