Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is mountain Shrine, located on the Mt. Nachi (Nachi-san) in the Nachi Katsuura Town of Wakayama Prefecture. It is one of the three Grand Shrines (Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha) that are part of the Kumano Sanzan. Kumano Sanzan is one of the three Sacred Sites of the Kii Peninsula (the other two are Koyasan and Yoshino Mountain) and is connected by the World Heritage Kumano Kodo (Ancient Road) Pilgrimage.
Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is located next door to Seigantoji Temple. Both Kumano Nachi Taisha and Seigantoji Temple are located half way up the Nachi Mountain. You can take Limited Express "Ocean Arrow" or "Super Kuroshio" to come to JR Kii Katsuura Station and then take a Bus to Nachi San to get to the Mountain bottom. From there you can walk up to the Shrine.
The three Grand Shrines that are part of Kumano Sanzan are located about 20-40 Kilometers apart and in the ancient times are traveled by walk by the Kumano Kodo Pilgrims.
Originally strictly part of Shinto tradition, as the Buddhism became popular, these shrines adopted the Shinto-Buddhist fusion of deities.
Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine Seal
Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is closely associated with the Nachi Waterfalls in Nachi Katsuura. Nachi Water falls, at a height of 400 feet and 40 feet wide is the highest waterfall in Japan.
Many objects of worship happened to be excavated near the Nachi Waterfalls, some of them were enshrined at the nearby Seigantoji Temple.
The present day Kumano Nachi Taisha was originally located near the Nachi Waterfalls. It was then moved to the present location in the 4th century AD. The main worshiped deity is Izanami no Mikoto (also known as Kumano Fusumi no Ookami).
On the way to the Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine, you can either go all the way to the top of the Nachi Mountain by Bus or get off the Bus at the Nachi Waterfalls. From the entrance of the Nachi Waterfalls you have walk many steps down to get to the foot of the Nachi Waterfalls. From here watching the waterfalls is one of the best experiences. There is also an alter and a Shrine office for you to offer prayers to the Kami of Nachi Waterfalls and the Nachi Forest around it. Once you get to the top and to the Kumano Nachi Taisha main prayer hall, the views are again breath taking, as you get to see the Nachi Mountain range all around the Shrine grounds.