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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine 熊野那智大社

A Shinto shrine and a Buddhist temple, both looking over picturesque falls

Nestled high up on Mt. Nachi, the brilliant orange and white Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine enshrines the god that dwells in the thundering Nachi Falls, the tallest waterfall in Japan.

One of the designated Three Grand Kumano Sanzan Shrines, it is one of the ultimate destinations for pilgrims trekking the historic Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route.

Don't Miss

  • The heavily forested Daimon-zaka approach
  • Seeing the majestic Nachi Falls up close
  • The mix of Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple buildings, an example of syncretism
  • The 850-year-old sacred camphor tree and the deity dwelling within

How to Get There

Nachi Taisha can be reached via a bus from Kii-Katsuura or Nachi Station.

Get the bus from Kii-Katsuura Station and ride 30 minutes to the Nachi-san stop. The stop before is Nachi-no-Taki-mae, the stop for Nachi Falls. Alternatively, take the bus from Shingu Station for about 15 minutes and get off at Jinja Otera-mae.

Quick Facts

While it is free to enter the temple grounds, entry into the shrine's treasure room costs 300 yen

Nachi Taisha and nearby Seiganto-ji comprise one of the country's few remaining shrine-temple complexes

A grand entrance

If you want to see the shrine as pilgrims would have approached it, get off the bus at Daimonzaka instead of Nachi-san. The stone staircase still feels ancient and leads you up to the entrance of the shrine. Taking 267 steps to climb, this path offers you the opportunity to step into the pilgrims' shoes, quite literally. You can rent 9th-century Heian-period costumes from the nearby Daimonzaka Chaya and climb the ancient staircase to arrive at the Grand Shrine in historic style.

A holy tree

As you enter the complex, you'll notice a large camphor tree whose boughs beautifully spread over the shrine's roofs, and encircled with a sacred rope. Nearly a millennium old, it enshrines a deity within, and a natural hollow in the trunk lets you actually squeeze through inside to listen to its ancient secrets. There is a small altar where offerings can be made.

Camphor trees are revered in Japan because of their longevity, giving them an eternal, spiritual presence. One famous example of this is in the film My Neighbor Totoro, where a large camphor tree serves as the home to the titular forest spirit.

A tale of two sacred sites

In a symbiotic religious relationship, Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine and the neighboring Seiganto Temple were once joined together, offering a place of worship to followers of Japan's native Shintoism joined with imported Buddhism. For a long time, the buildings operated as a single entity, but in the 19th-century the Meiji government forced the two religions to be separated.

Here, the two spiritual structures remain connected and represent harmony in the presence of nature, both dedicated to the powerful and striking wonder of the area that inspired people long before either were built.

Fiery festivities

The highlight of the shrine's festival calendar is the Nachi Fire Festival held every July 14. In an ancient purification ritual, torches and portable shrines fashioned into the shape of the nearby Nachi Falls are set ablaze. During this time, the stone staircase leading from the shrine to the falls is packed with torch-wielders dressed in white in a truly dazzling display.

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