• Kumano Kodo's photo

Kumano Kodo

Ise city, Owase city, Kumano city

Sacred mountain paths that lead to faith—the Kumano Kodo.

In ancient Japan, people walked along mountain paths over many days for reasons of faith, headed to Shinto shrines. Kumano Kodo is the collective name for the pilgrimage routes leading to the three shrines known as the Kumano Sanzan. Although the Kumano Sanzan shrines are located in Wakayama Prefecture (adjacent to Mie Prefecture), many pilgrims travel here from Kyoto, Osaka, and Aichi prefectures, so the Kumano Kodo extends to the north, south, east, and west across the four prefectures of Osaka, Wakayama, Nara, and Mie. The region is known for heavy rains, so stone paving has been laid to ensure that roads do not collapse. The beauty of these cobbled paths and untouched forests has created the unique landscape of the Kumano Kodo.

  • Kumano Kodo's photo
  • Kumano Kodo's photo

The Iseji route connects Ise Shrine to the Kumano Sanzan shrines

The Kumano Kodo has multiple courses, but the one passing through Mie Prefecture is known as the Iseji route. This route starts at Ise Shrine and leads to the Kumano Sanzan shrines. Its overall length is about 170 kilometers! Walking the entire length is extremely difficult, but since the course is divided into 18 blocks, you might enjoy walking a single block. The remarkably beautiful cobbled paths of the Magose-toge Pass, the more accessible low-altitude Matsumoto-toge Pass, and the popular Tsuzurato-toge Pass (easily accessible from Ise Shrine) are all recommended. Each of these walking courses takes about 3 hours or so to complete.

  • Kumano Kodo's photo
  • Kumano Kodo's photo
  • Kumano Kodo's photo

Admire superb views while touring the Kumano Kodo.

In addition to the Kumano Kodo paths, the area has some of Mie Prefecture’s most superb viewing spots. A rock upon the beach resembling a fanged lion is known as Shishiiwa, while Shichirimihama beach is filled with pebbles washed downstream by the Kumanogawa River. The Onigajo rock art was created by a rock tuff formation, and Hana-no-Iwaya Jinja Shrine, said to be Japan's oldest shrine, is located inside the Hana-no-Iwaya (or “cave of flowers”). This whole area of "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" has been designated a World Heritage Site. Through this beautiful landscape, it is possible to get a closer sense of Japan’s ancient faith.

  • Kumano Kodo's photo
  • Kumano Kodo's photo
  • Kumano Kodo's photo
  • Kumano Kodo's photo

For reference

Kumano Kodo Center, Mie Prefecture

  • Address
    12-4 Mukai, Owase-shi, Mie-ken
  • Telephone
    0597-25-2666 (Mie Prefecture Kumano Kodo Center)

  • Opening hours
    9 A.M. to 5 P.M.

  • Closed
    Year-end and New Year holidays

  • Price
    Admission is free
  • URL


Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport.
Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 100-minute flight from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport.
Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 75-minute flight from Sendai Airport.
Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 65-minute flight from Matsuyama Airport.
Matsusaka Port is 75 minutes from Chubu Centrair International Airport via the Tsu Airport Line.
Matsusaka Station is 12 minutes by bus from Matsusaka Port.
  • Kumano Kodo Center is about 2 hours via the Nanki express bus (bound for Kumano Kodo Center) from Matsusaka Station.


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