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Kumano Hayatama Taisha

Kii Peninsula

Located at the mouth of the Kumano-gawa, Kumano Hayatama Taisha is one of the Kumano Sanzan (three sacred shrines of Kumano), enshrining Hayatama-no-Okami, the god said to rule the workings of nature and, by extension, all life. Though ancient in origin, the current building is a 1951 reconstruction, painted a vibrant shade of vermilion. Look out for the impressively thick shimenawa (sacred rope) and what's said to be Japan's oldest conifer.

Many travellers arrive via a Kumano River Boat Tour traditional sampan; the boats dock nearby.

From the shrine you can walk 15 minutes south to Gotobiki-iwa, the large rock that was the original site of worship.

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