Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


One of Japan's most intensely spiritual places, Oku-no-in is a memorial hall to Kōbō Daishi surrounded by a vast, forested Buddhist cemetery. The tall cedars and thousands of peaked stone stupas along the stone path…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


This sprawling temple is the headquarters of the Shingon sect and the residence of Kōya-san's abbot. The main gate is the temple's oldest structure (1593); the present main hall dates from the 19th century; and the …
Shinto Shrine in Nachi & Kii-katsuura

Kumano Nachi Taisha

The Shintō shrine Nachi Taisha, near the waterfall Nachi-no-taki, was built in homage to the waterfall's kami (spirit god). It's one of the three great shrines of the Kii Peninsula, and worth the climb up the steep …
Waterfall in Nachi & Kii-katsuura


At 133m, Nachi-no-taki is Japan's highest waterfall. Visit it in conjunction with Nachi Taisha, the Shintō shrine to the waterfall.
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


At the western end of central Kōya-san, this complex of eight principal buildings (temples, pagodas) and several other structures is one of Kōya-san's most important sites, along with Oku-no-in and Kongōbu-ji. Somet…
Shinto Shrine in Shingū

Kumano Hayatama Taisha

At the end of the Kumano Kodō pilgrimage route, this shrine dates from prehistory and celebrates Hayatama-no-Okami, the god said to rule the workings of nature and, by extension, all life. Meticulously maintained or…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Konpon Daitō

Most recently rebuilt in 1934 after a fire, this 50m tall, bright-orange pagoda in the Garan is said to be the centre of the lotus-flower mandala formed by Kōya-san's eight mountains. The main object of worship is D…
Museum in Hongū

Kumano Hongū Heritage Centre

This spiffy, modern multimedia museum has detailed information in English about the Unesco World Heritage Sites around the sacred Kumano region. Amid rice paddies behind the heritage centre is Japan's largest torii …
Shinto Shrine in Hongū

Kumano Hongū Taisha

Kumano Hongū Taisha is one of the three famous shrines of the Kumano Sanzan, collectively a Unesco World Heritage Site; the others are Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha. It's dramatically perched on a t…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


The Garan's kondō is the main hall and enshrines Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing. First constructed in the early 9th century, it was destroyed by fire six times; the current structure dates from 1…