World Heritage Site List

ShigaOther regions Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | fukui | mie

Hieizan Enryakuji Temple

World Heritage 

Shiga Kyoto 

 Hieizan Enryakuji Temple

Enryakuji Temple was founded on Mt.Hiei by Saicho in 788 as the head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. It is registered as a World Curtual Heritage site in 1994. The huge site has clusters of buildings in three areas: To-do (East Pagota), Sai-to (West Pagota) and Yokawa. The grounds are filled with a solemn atmosphere as a training site of the Tendai sect of Buddhism.
Location Sakamoto-Honmachi, Otsu City

Hikone Castle

Shiga 

 Hikone Castle

This castle as the domain of Hikone, where the Ii family lived. Ii Naosuke is a famous figure in the opening of Japan. It is one of 4 existing castles designated as a national treasure. In addition to the unique stone walls called "burdock piling” and three-storied pagoda with a beautiful curved roof, there are many attractions, such as the garden of the domain “Genkyuen”.
Location Konki-cho, Hikone City

KyotoOther regions Shiga | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | fukui | mie

Hieizan Enryakuji Temple

World Heritage 

Shiga Kyoto 

 Hieizan Enryakuji Temple

Enryakuji Temple was founded on Mt.Hiei by Saicho in 788 as the head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. It is registered as a World Curtual Heritage site in 1994. The huge site has clusters of buildings in three areas: To-do (East Pagota), Sai-to (West Pagota) and Yokawa. The grounds are filled with a solemn atmosphere as a training site of the Tendai sect of Buddhism.
Location Sakamoto-Honmachi, Otsu City

Kamigamo-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

The deity of Kamigamo-jinja Shrine is Kamo-wakeikazuchino Omikami, and it is said that during the age of the gods, the deity descended upon Koyama Mountain which is located north-northwest of the main shrine. The shrine was built on the current location during the reign of Emperor Temmu. It is popularly worshipped as a god that grants exorcism and exorcism in all directions, and as being the protector of light, it is also known as the god of victory. Both the main shrine and the temporary shrine have been designated as national treasure for being the archetype of Nagare-zukuri design. The other 41 buildings are designated as important cultural property.
Location: 339 Kamigamo Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi

Shimogamo-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Founded before the Heian Period, Shimogamo-jinja Shrine was worshipped as the Ichinomiya of Yamashiro Province, and it is one of the most ancient shrines in Kyoto. As a shrine where prayer was offered for the execution of national affairs, and where words to invoke peace for the people were conferred, it was designated as Kamo no Saiin system or Shikinen Sengu system. The enshrined deities are Kamotaketsunumi no mikoto and its daughter Tamayorihime no mikoto. Inside the spacious precincts of Tadasu no mori, which is a national historic site, sit 2 buildings of the main shrines (national treasure), and 53 buildings that are designated as important cultural property.
Location: 59 Shimogamo Izumigawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

To-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

To-ji Temple is the head temple of Shingon Buddhism. Heian-kyo was built in 794AD (the 13th year of the Enryaku era), and two years later, for the purpose of the protection of the nation, To-ji was established on the east of Rajomon. In 823AD (the 14th year of the Kounin era) it was bestowed to the Buddhist monk Kukai (Kobo-Daishi) by Emperor Saga. In the main hall (important cultural property) sits the Dainichi Nyoraii and 21 Buddhist statues such as the Five Wisdom Kings which are designated as national treasure. Iemitsu Tokugawa rebuilt the five-storied pagoda (national treasure), and with a height of 55m, it is the nation's tallest.
Location: 1 Kujocho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is the head temple of Kita Hoso sect. It is the 16th pilgrimage site out of the 33 sites on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage circuit. In 778AD (the 9th year of the Hoki era), the Buddhist monk Enchin Shonin became the first abbot of the temple, and it is said that Sakanoue Tamuramaro had built the temple in 798AD (the 17th year of the Enryaku era). In the hillside of the Mt. Otowayama, almost 30 dotogarans (the temples' halls, pagodas and cathedrals) are lined up. The main hall (national treasure), which is known as the "Stage of Kiyomizu," is elegantely built through a combination of hipped roof that is covered with cypress bark shingles with a touch of Heian era architectural style. The Juichimen Senju Kannons (standing statue of eleven-faced kannon) are placed.
Location: 294-1 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi

Daigo-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Daigo-ji Temple is said to have been founded when the Buddhist monk Shobo Rigen witnessed the manifestation of Jishu Deity Yokoo Myojin on top of the upper Daigo Moutain in 874AD (the 16th year of the Jougan era). From this encounter, the sacred spring called Daigo Water was conferred and Shobo built a small temple, placing in it both Juntei Kannon and Nyoirin Kannon. In 907AD (the 7th year of the Engi era), through the request of Godai Emperor the Yakushido Hall was built, and the temple of Kami Daigo-ji was completed after Godaido was built. In 926AD (the 4th year of the Encho era), the Shaka Hall was built, and subsequently, the five-storied pagoda was established in 951AD (the 5th year of theTenryaku era), leading to the culmination of the lower temple. In 1115AD (the 3rd year of the Eikyu era), the Sanboin Temple was founded which cemented the foundation of the development of Daigo-ji Temple.
Location: 22 Daigohigashiojicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi

Ninna-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Ninna-ji Temple is the head temple of the Omuro sect, Shingon Buddhism. In 886AD (2nd year of the Ninna era), its construction started under the imperial decree of Emperor Koko, and the temple was completed in 888AD (the 4th year of the Ninna era). The temple was given the name of the imperial year. After Emperor Uda became a renunciate and joined the monkhood, he had a room (imperial chamber) built, and the temple also became to be known as Omuro Imperial Palace. Since then, until the Meiji Restoration, the imperial descendants served as the head priest. Temple buildings suffered extensive damage due to fire during the Onin War (1467-1477), however, they were rebuilt during the Kanei era (1624-44). The Shishinden Hall of the Kyoto Imperial Palace was removed and reconstructed as the main hall (national treasure) of the temple.
Location: 33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Byodo - in Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

 Byodo - in Temple

Byodo-in Temple (originally a rural villa belonging to Fujiwara no Michinaga) was made into a Buddhist temple in 1052, which was during the period where the Fujiwara clan flourished, by Michinaga's son Kampaku (senior regent) Fujiwara no Yorimichi. Hoo-do (Phoenix Hall, national treasure) which is crowned by statues of phoenix on the roof top houses a seated statue of Amida Buddha, a creation by the finest sculptor of Buddhist images, Jocho, during the Heian Period. Hoo-do is built on the middle island of a pond, and it is as if a palace floating on the treasure pond in paradise; its elegant exteriors are featured on the 10 yen coin. It has been listed as the World Heritage Site and its renovation was completed in September 2014. It has been restored to the closest form, with its inherent beauty, during the time of its founding.
Location: 116 Renge Uji, Uji City,Kyoto-fu

Ujigami - jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

 Ujigami - jinja Shrine

Ujigami Shrine houses the spirits of the Ujinowaki-Iratsuko, Ojin and Nintoku Emperors (semi-legendary emperors). According to Japan's oldest history book, Nihon-Shoki, the Emperor Ujinowaki-Iratsuko was the son of the Ojin Emperor, and had to violently defend his throne from his usurping brother Nintoku. Following this battle, he committed suicide in Uji. The main building was constructed in the later part of the Heian period and is the oldest shrine architecture standing today. The front shrine building is valuable in the sense that it retains the typical architectural characteristics of an aristocrat's house. It is believed that the residence of the Eighth Prince, one of the key characters in the Ten Uji Chapters, was located somewhere near here.
Location Ujiyamada, Uji-city

Kozan-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Kozan-ji Temple was initially founded in 774AD (5th year of Hoki era). Myoe Shonin rebuilt the temple after the Retired Emperor Gotoba converted to Buddhism . The temple is well known for being the first place where tea was first planted in Japan which was sent as a gift from Eisai Zenji. The national treasure Sekisui-in is a very valuable remains with a touch of Shinden zukuri from the initial days of the Kamakura period. It is a treasure trove of cultural property in Rakusei, and the four scrolls of Animal Caricature (national treasure) are worth mentioning here too. It is also famous for its foliage.
Location: 8 Umegahata Toganocho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Saiho-ji Temple (Koke-dera Temple)

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Saiho-ji Temple was founded by the Buddhist monk Gyoki during the Nara period. It was restored in 1339 (2nd year of Ryakuo era) after the Buddhist monk Muso Soseki had joined the temple. Saiho-ji Temple belongs to the Rinzai school. Its garden is arranged as a circular promenade (historic sites/special places of scenic beauty) centered around Ogonchi (Golden Pond), with the pond shaped like the Chinese character kokoro (heart/soul). It is covered by 120 types of moss, and there is the Shonantei (important cultural property) where Tomomi Iwakura hid during the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate era. Prior application is necessary for visiting.
Location: 56 Matsuojingatanicho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Tenryu-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Tenryu-ji Temple is the head temple of the Tenryu sect of the Rinzai school. To calm the spirit of Emperor Godaigo, Takauji Ashikaga built the temple in 1339 (2nd year of Ryakuo era) by establishing the Buddhist monk Muso Kokushi as the first abbot. During the Muromachi period, it held the top position in the Five Mountain System of Kyoto. In the abbot's chamber, the statue of the sitting Shakanyorai of the Fujiwara Era is found. The Tahoden was built by imitating the Shishinden from the Yoshino Dynasty. The Sogenchi Pond Garden, which retains its original form, is surrounded by a circular promenade that incorporates the landscapes of Kameyama and Arashiyama. It is said to be the creation of Muso Kokushi.
Location: 68 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Kinkaku-ji Temple (The Golden Pavilion)

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Kinkaku-ji Temple belongs to the Shokokuji sect of the Rinzai school. In 1397 (4th year of the Ouei era) the villa belonging to Yoshimitsu Ashikaga was converted to a temple. Kinkaku is a three-storied tower designed after a pyramid-shaped roof. It suffered damage from an arson in 1950 (25th year of Showa era), but was rebuilt in 1955 (30th year of the Showa era). It has a circular promenade that centers around a pond (historic sites/special places of scenic beauty). Sekkatei, a famous tea room with its staggered shelf made from bush clover and an alcove post made from nanten (sacred bamboo) tree is worth mentioning too.
Location: 1 Kinkakujicho Kitaku, Kyoto-shi

Ginkaku-ji Temple(The Silver Pavilion)

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Ginkaku-ji Temple belongs to the Shokokuji sect of the Rinzai school. It was rebuilt as a temple from the Higashiyama sanso villa that belonged to Yoshimasa Ashikaga in 1482 (the 14th year of the Bunmei era). Ginkaku (national treasure), with its rooftop completed in 1489 (the 3rd year of the Entoku era), is a two-storied tower designed after a pyramid-type roof. The upper level is called Choonkaku and the lower level is called Shinkuden. Dojinsai is found inside Togudo (national treasure) that is located north of the garden, and it is said to be the prototype of the four-and-a-half tatami mat tea room. In the alter room, Amida Nyorai statue and Yoshimasa's statue are found.
Location: 2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Ryoan-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Ryoan-ji Temple belongs to the Myoshin-ji sect of the Rinzai school. In 1450 (2nd year of the Houtoku era) Katsumoto Hosokawa was bestowed the villa of the Tokudaiji clan, and converted it to a Zen temple by establishing Giten Osho as the first abbot. The Hojo Garden (historic sites/special places of scenic beauty) known for its famous rock garden, is a flat, dry landscape garden that is surrounded by mud walls from three directions. It is also known as "The Garden of Swimming Baby Tigers." It is a famous garden with 15 rocks located over the white sand. In the east garden of hojo, there is the Ryoan-ji Temple fence and next to it, Wabisuke camellia grows in which Hideyoshi praised for its beauty.
Location: 13 Goryonoshitacho Ryoanji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Nishi-Hongwan-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

Nishi-Hongwan-ji Temple is the head temple of the Hongwanji sect of the Pure Land Buddhism school. Its founding starts with the mausoleum built at Higashiyama Otani of Kyoto by Kakushinni, the youngest daughter of Shinran Shonin, the founder of the sect, in 1272 (the 9th year of the Bunei era). It became publicly known as Hongwanji during the time of the 3rd abbot Kakunyo Shonin. After changing locations from Osaka to Wakayama Prefecture, Hideyoshi Toyotomi donated the land in 1591 (the 19th year of the Tenshou era) and moved to the current site. The garden seen from the drawing room (special places of scenic beauty) is a dry landscape garden that is representative of the Momoyama culture. In addition, there are several buildings that are designated as national treasure that conveys the Momoyama culture such as the North Noh Stage which is the oldest Noh stage in Japan and the Karamon gate.
Location: Hanayamachi-sagaru Horikawadori, Shimogyoku, Kyoto-shi

Nijo-jo Castle

World Heritage 

Kyoto 

The Nijo-jo Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 (the 8th year of the Keicho era), and the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu added on to it in 1626 (the 3rd year of the Kanei era) by transporting the remains of the Fushimi Castle which has given its current scale. Forts were built at about every 500m in the directions of east and west, and at about every 400m in the directions of north and south, and the castle is surrounded by a moat. The existing Ninomaru Goden (national treasure) is a samurai-type study comprised of 6 buildings. Paintings on the wall are masterpieces of the Kano school. Sculptures and ornamental fittings convey the concept of the Momoyama art. Ninomaru Garden (special sites) is the creation of Enshu Kobori. The Honmaru Palace was destroyed in a major fire (1788, the 8th year of the Tenmei era) during the Tenmei era. The present building is the old Katsuranomiya Palace that was in the Kyoto Imperial Gardens which was dismantled and reconstructed (important cultural property).
Location: 541 Nijodori Horikawa Nishiiru Nijojocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi

Amanohashidate

Kyoto 

 Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate is a scenic point In Miyazu, Kyoto that attracts many visitors every year.Amanohashidate is composed of Daitenkyo, Shotenkyo, Daini Shotenkyo, and Kasamatsu. The sandbank measures a total of 3.2 km (Daitenkyo and Shotenkyo areas), with beaches ranging from 20 to 170 meters wide, and it has beautiful scenery includes the rows of roughly 5,000 large and small black pine trees that grow there.
In addition to the beauty of the white sand and green pines, the many viewing points for taking in the scenic vista are another attraction, and you can view Amanohashidate from many different angles, including the Four Great Views of Amanohashidate.
Location Amanohashidate, Miyazu City,Kyoto

San'in Kaigan Geopark

Global Geoparks 

Kyoto 

 San'in Kaigan Geopark

San'in Kaigan Geopark is an area where one can observe the phenomenon starting from the formation of Japan Sea to the invaluable topography/geographical heritage that continues until today. Furthermore it is a region where one can come across on numerous occasions people's culture and history with diverse nature serving as the backdrop.
Tateiwa which is found in Taiza of Kyotango is about 20m high, and its towering feature brings out an exquisite contrast when combined with the Japan Sea.
It is also very beautiful with the sunset as the backdrop. There is a sightseeing tour boat in the proximity which allows one to enjoy its beauty from the ocean too.
Getting there: About 30 minutes (bus) from Mineyama Station to Tangochoshamae.

A stroll through 800 years of Japanese Tea ~ Kyoto–Yamashiro

Kyoto 

 A stroll through 800 years of Japanese Tea ~ Kyoto–Yamashiro

As the birthplace of maccha, sencha and gyokuro teas, the Yamashiro district of Kyoto has supported and led Tea Ceremony and other aspects of tea culture in Kyoto. Yamashiro still has tea plantations, wholesalers, tea production facilities, temples and shrines associated with tea, and other facilities, as in days long past. This is the only district where you can experience and trace the history of tea culture. Yamashiro is “the heart of Japanese tea.” In April 2015, the Agency for Cultural Affairs designated Yamashiro as part of the Japan Heritage.

OsakaOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | fukui | mie

Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun

Osaka 

 Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun

Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun are a group of burial mounds built between the latter part of the 4th century to the latter part of the 5th century for the ruling class that reigned during the Kofun Period. The Kofun of Emperor Nintoku (length of burial mound 486m) and Kofun of Emperor Ojin (total length 425m) are considered to be the largest tombs in the world alongside with the pyramids of Egypt and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, and are recognized as prominent cases of large-scale tombs that were built during the formation stages of ancient states. Similarly, these tombs are diverse in their forms (key-hole shaped tombs, round tombs) and sizes (from less then 20m to more than 400m), and they both demonstrated the ranks of the royalty, a showing of Japanese culture during the Kofun Period.
Location: The Kofun of Emperor Nintoku, 7-1 Daisencho, Sakai-ku, Sakai City, The Kofun of Emperor Ojin, 6-11-3 Konda, Habikino City

Hyogo Other regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | fukui | mie

Himeji Castle

World Heritage 

Hyogo 

 Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle has 400 years of history. It is evaluated highly from the world as a castle that is still the original building among Japanese castles. In 1993, it was registered as the world heritage site along with Horyuji for the first time in Japan. The graceful white building is compared to a white heron and it is also called “white heron castle” and creating very beautiful scenery.
The castle wall painted with white wall plaster and beauty of the castle tower is magnificent. You are for sure to be impressed by its appearance. Also in spring, about 1000 cherry blossom trees in the castle are in full bloom so many people come for the view.
On the weekend, Himeji castle armored group, gate keepers, ninjas, and the character for Himeji city “Shiromaruhime” come to the castle to welcome the guests.
Location 68 Honmachi Himeji

San'in Kaigan Geopark (Hyogo Prefecture Area)

Global Geoparks 

Hyogo 

 San'in Kaigan Geopark (Hyogo Prefecture Area)

San'in Kaigan Geopark is an area where one can observe the phenomena starting from the formation of Japan Sea to the invaluable topography/geographical heritage that continues until today. Furthermore it is a region where one can come across on numerous occasions people's culture and history with the diverse nature serving as the backdrop.
The Genbudo Cave, which is actually registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention, is situated down river of Maruyama River that flows through Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture.
There are 5 caves (unlike limestone caves, but an old quarry site) named after the four gods of China (Genbu, Seiryu, Byakko, and Suzaku) at Genbudo Cave. Without a doubt people will be overwhelmed by the intense energy of Genbudo and Seiryuudou which are designated as natural monuments by the state.
Getting there: About 15 minutes (bus) from Toyooka Station to Genbudo Park.

NaraOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | fukui | mie

Horyu-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

It is said that Horyu-ji temple was founded jointly by Prince Shotoku and Empress Suiko in 607. Although the original buildings were destroyed by fire at one time, the current temple was completed by the early 8th century. Today, the world’s oldest surviving wooden structures convey images of Japan as it was in bygone days.

The temple consists of two sections—the Western Precincts and the Eastern Precincts. The temple’s architectural structures include 55 that are designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. The temple also houses numerous fine examples of Buddhist art, such as the Kudara Kannon and Shakyamuni Triad. The structures and Buddhist art found at Horyu-ji temple show not only Chinese and Korean influence but also the influence of far-away Greece.

Location: 1-1 Horyu-ji Sannai, Ikaruga-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara Prefecture

Hokki-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

Founded in the seventh century, the only surviving original structure at Hokki-ji temple is the three-storied pagoda (National Treasure). The 24-meter-tall structure is the oldest existing three-storied pagoda in Japan. The current Hondo (main hall), Shorodo (bell tower) and Kondo (golden hall) were built during or after the 17 century.

Location: 1873 Okamoto, Ikaruga-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara Prefecture

Todai-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

Todai-ji temple was established in 741 at the behest of Emperor Shomu, who promoted the building of a nation centered in Buddhism. The casting of the Great Buddha statue was a national project that took three years, with a lavish consecration ceremony taking place in 752 upon its completion.

In 1180, the majority of the buildings in the temple compounds were set on fire and destroyed. However, they were restored through contributions collected by the monk Chogen. The temple burned down once more in 1567, again in the ravages of war. The majority of the temple’s current structures were reconstructed after the 17th century.

The Great Buddha Hall (National Treasure), where the world’s largest gilt-bronze Rushana Buddha (or Vairocana) – affectionately known as the Nara Buddha in Japan – is enshrined, is one of the world’s largest wooden structures.

Location: 406-1 Zoshi-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Kofuku-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

This temple was relocated to its present location by the powerful aristocrat Fujiwara no Fuhito with the establishment of the capital at Nara (known as Heijo-kyo) in 710. Renamed Kofuku-ji, it prospered greatly as the temple of the Fujiwara clan. Kofuku-ji temple burned to the ground in 1180 due to a fire caused by war but was swiftly reconstructed. However, the western half of the temple was later lost to fire in 1717.

Kofuku-ji houses many masterpieces of Buddhist sculpture. It is especially known for the sculpture of Ashura (or Asura), which brought about a Buddhist sculpture boom in Japan.

Location: 48 Noborioji-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Kasuga-Taisha

World Heritage 

Nara 

Kasuga-Taisha shrine is said to have its beginnings in 710 when gods were enshrined at the summit of Mt. Mikasa to protect the capital at Nara (Heijo-kyo). The shrine was built in 768 at its current location.

A beautiful, vermillion-lacquered Shinto shrine stands in the precincts, which is well-known since olden times for its garden of beautiful wisteria. Also within the precincts is the Kasuga-Taisha Treasure House, which houses and displays over 3,000 treasures, 520 of which are designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.

The Mantoro lantern festival is held twice a year, on February 3 and between August 14 and 15, when the thousands of lanterns in the shrine precincts are lit. Meanwhile, the Kasuga Wakamiya Onmatsuri festival is held between December 15 and 18, which includes a grand procession of people dressed in period costume.

Location: 160 Kasugano-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Kasugayama Primeval Forest

World Heritage 

Nara 

Considered a sacred mountain of the Kasuga-Taisha shrine, logging was prohibited in the hills adjacent to the Shinto shrine for more than a thousand years. For this reason, the area is a primeval forest where Japanese cedar and other towering trees abound. It is also home to rare animals, including those designated as protected species. It is extremely unusual for a primeval forest to exist near an urban area.

Location: Kasugano-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture.

Gango-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

The forerunner of Gango-ji temple was Asukadera temple (also known as Hoko-ji), which was established by Soga no Umako and is said to have been Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple that was established in the late 6th century. It was relocated to its current location when the capital was moved to Nara (Heijo-kyo). Known as one of the Seven Great Temples of Nanto (Nara), Gango-ji was once an expansive temple. Today, only the Gokurakubo main hall and Zen room (both National Treasures) remain. The temple houses a miniature five-storied pagoda (National Treasure) and a standing statue of Prince Shotoku (Important Cultural Property) among other items.

Location: 11 Chuin-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Yakushi-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

Construction of Yakushi-ji temple was commissioned by Emperor Tenmu to pray for the recovery of his consort (who later succeeded him as Empress Jito) from illness. It was originally built in the ancient capital of Fujiwara-kyo (Yamato Province), and it is said to have been relocated to its present location in 718 after the capital was moved to Heijo-kyo (Nara). The temple was burned to ashes in the 16th century in the ravages of war, with only the To-to (east pagoda; National Treasure) left standing. Today, temple reconstruction, which began with the Kondo (main hall) and was followed by the Sai-to (west pagoda), has been progressing, with other structures also being rebuilt.

There is a striking contrast between the east pagoda (the only surviving original structure) and the west pagoda where visitors can see the vermillion railings and other elements that bespeak of the gorgeousness of the structures when the temple was first built. Note that the east pagoda is currently undergoing repair and is not open to the public.

Location: 457 Nishinokyo-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Toshodai-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

Toshodai-ji temple was founded in 759 after the Chinese abbot Jianzhen, who had been invited to Japan by Emperor Tenmu, finally succeeded in coming to Japan after being repeatedly thwarted over a 12 year period.

The temple precincts include the Kondo (main hall), Kodo (lecture hall), two Azekura (wooden repositories), and Koro (drum tower), which are all National Treasures. Numerous masterpiece sculptures made in the Tempyo era can also be found here, among which, the wooden statue of Abbot Jianzhen (National Treasure), enshrined in Miei-do Hall, is Japan’s oldest existent portrait sculpture. It exudes the deep spirituality of Abbot Jianzhen in his twilight years. The temple is well known for the Uchiwamaki fan throwing festival held every year on May 19.

Location: 13-46 Gojo-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Heijo-kyo Palace Site

World Heritage 

Nara 

The Heijo-kyo (Nara) Palace was Japan’s first full-fledged imperial palace, which was the center of the ancient capital of Heijo-kyo (Nara) when the capital was relocated from Fujiwara-kyo (Yamato Province) in 710. Today, the Suzaku-mon (Suzaku gate) and the Daikoku-den (former Imperial audience hall) have been restored at the Heijo-kyo Palace Site. Museums such as the Nara Palace Site Museum, Excavation Site Exhibition Hall and Heijo History Museum are also located at the site. The History Museum contains a full-scale replica of a Japanese diplomatic ship for envoys to Tang China.

Location: Saki-cho, Nara, Nara Prefecture.

Yoshinoyama

World Heritage 

Nara 

There are said to be over 30,000 cherry trees lining the valleys, slopes and ridges of Yoshinoyama (Mt. Yoshino), and it is famous as a breathtaking spot for cherry blossom viewing.

The mountain’s cherry trees have their beginnings from when the Japanese ascetic En no Gyoja (“Ascetic from the En Clan”) was opening Kimpusen-ji temple in Yoshino. Spiritually awakened by a cherry tree, En no Gyoja carved a statue of Zao Gongen (a Buddhist god) out of a cherry tree, making it the temple’s principal image. Since then, cherry trees were protected as being sacred, and trees were repeatedly donated to the temple and planted.

The mountain was also the location of the capital of the Southern Imperial Court during the Northern and Southern Courts period.

Location: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Yoshino Mikumari-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Nara 

Yoshino Mikumari-jinja Shrine is dedicated to Ame no Mikumari, a Shinto goddess who presides over the distribution of water. Ame no Mikumari also has a following as a goddess of fertility.

The main buildings of the shrine were rebuilt in 1604 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s son, Hideyori, who was said to have been born through a miracle worked by this shrine.

The buildings, which convey the architectural style of the period, are Important Cultural Properties. The shrine is known in spring for its beautiful weeping cherry tree, and its beautiful lilies of the valley in early summer.

Location: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kimpu-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Nara 

Kimpu-jinja is a shrine deeply surrounded by elderly Japanese cedar and cherry trees. It is dedicated to the tutelary deity of Yoshinoyama. It became a site for ascetic training of the practitioners of Shugen-do (mountain asceticism). Fujiwara no Michinaga, the powerful aristocrat of the late 10th to 11 centuries, is said to have offered prayers here.

Location: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kimpusen-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

Towering from the heights of a ridge on Yoshinoyama, Kimpusen-ji temple was founded in the 7th century by Japanese ascetic En no Gyoja (“Ascetic from the En Clan”), who originated Shugen-do (mountain asceticism). As an ancient wooden structure, the Zao-do (main hall; National Treasure), which was rebuilt in the 15th century, is second in size only to the Great Buddha Hall of Todai-ji temple.

The temple’s principal images are three giant statues of Zao Gongen (a Buddhist god), which are seven meters tall each. Placed in a cupboard-like case, among the largest in Japan, with closed double doors, these images are not usually shown to the public.

Location: 2493 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Yoshimizu-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Nara 

Yoshimizu-jinja Shrine was originally living quarters for practitioners of Shugen-do (mountain asceticism) that had been built in the 7th century and called Kissui-in. It became a Shinto shrine in the mid-19th century.

It Is known for many historical anecdotes. For example, during the period of upheaval in the 14th century, it served as a temporary palace for Emperor Go-Daigo. Meanwhile, in the 16th century, warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had successfully united Japan, used it as a base for cherry blossom viewing.

Location: 579 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Ominesan-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Nara 

Ominesan-ji is a temple for practitioners of Shugen-do (mountain asceticism). It stands on the peak of Mt. Sanjo in the Omine mountain range. A ceremony to open the doors of the main hall for the season is held every year on May 3, while the “door closing” ceremony is held on September 23. To this day, Mt. Sanjo in the Omine mountain range remains barred to women for religious reasons.

Location: Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Asuka Itabuki Palace Site

Nara 

Overlapping layers of the remains of four palaces are present at the Asuka Itabuki Palace Site. In chronological order, the palaces are: Asuka Okamoto-no-miya (630–636; Emperor Jomei), Asuka Itabuki-no-miya (643–645; Emperor Kogyoku), Nochi no Asuka Okamoto-no-miya (656–660; Empress Saimei) and Asuka Kiyomihara-no-miya (672–694; Emperor Tenmu / Empress Jito). Of them, portions of the architectural remains from Nochi no Asuka Okamoto-no-miya to Asuka Kiyomihara-no-miya have been restored as a stone paved plaza and stone well

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Asukakyo Ato Enchi Site

Nara 

The Asukakyo Ato Enchi Site, situated to the northwest of the Asuka Palace Site, was a garden attached to the palace. It was composed of two ponds, to the north and to the south.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Asuka Mizuochi Site

Nara 

The Asuka Mizuochi Site is the ruins of a water-clock made for the first time in Japan by Prince Naka-no-Oe.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Sakafuneishi Site

Nara 

At the Sakafuneishi Site, strange grooves have been cut on the flat surface of a 5.3-meter-long, 2.27-meter-side, 1-meter-thick piece of rock. Although it is called Sakafuneishi (sake trough) based on the legend that it was used to brew sake, there are many different theories, and its exact use is not known.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Fujiwara Palace Site

Nara 

The Fujiwara Palace Site was where Fujiwara Palace was located. The palace was the central facility of the ancient capital of Fujiwara-kyo (Yamato Province), which was the first capital in Japan modeled after the design of Chinese capitals.

Fujiwara Castle covered an area of roughly one kilometer per side, within which facilities such as the Daikoku-den (where national ceremonial activities took place), Chodo-in, (ministerial offices) and Dairi (sovereign’s residential quarters) were situated. The palace was like a combination of the modern-day Imperial Palace, Diet Building and Kasumigaseki ministerial district.

Today, fields of seasonal flowers, such as cosmos and lotus flower, are planted at the palace site. They offer different scenery each season for the enjoyment of visitors.

Location: Daigo-cho, Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Fujiwara Capital Site,Suzaku Boulevard Site

Nara 

The Fujiwara Capital Site’s Suzaku Boulevard Site is a 25-meter-wide main boulevard that extends south from Suzaku-mon (the main gate of the Fujiwara Palace).

Location: Kamihida-cho, Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Yamato Sanzan

Nara 

Yamato Sanzan (the three mountains of Yamato) consists of Mount Miminashi to the north, Mount Kagu to the east and Mount Unebi to the west. They loom above the southern part of the Nara Basin. Although they are more like hills at less than 200 meters in height, these “mountains” are quite beautiful to behold, and there are many myths and legends related to the Yamato Sanzan.

In ancient times, people thought of Mount Unebi as a woman and the other two mountains as being men. There is a legend that Mounts Miminashi and Kagu once fought over Mount Unebi.

Location: Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Asukadera Temple Site

Nara 

Asukadera temple was the first full-scale temple built in Japan.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Yamadadera Temple Site

Nara 

Yamadadera was a temple that was built in the 7th century. According to written records, Yamadadera was a magnificent and solemn temple in its heyday. The Buddha head now housed at Kofuku-ji temple was originally part of the principal image of Yamadadera.

The temple declined after the Middle Ages, and it was abandoned in 1870 during the anti-Buddhist movement of the early Meiji era. It was later reestablished in 1892 as a small temple.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Tachibanadera Temple Precinct

Nara 

The year of Tachibanadera temple’s establishment is unclear. The temple is said to be the birthplace of Prince Shotoku (active during the 6th to 7th centuries). It was a large temple in the 8th century, but today, only a few structures remain.

A seated statue of Prince Shotoku from the Muromachi period (Important Cultural Property) and Nimenseki (two-faced stone) depicting good and evil are among the items that can be found in the temple precincts.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kawaradera Temple Site

Nara 

Kawadera was a temple built to console the spirit of Empress Saimei.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Moto Yakushiji Temple Site

World Heritage 

Nara 

Moto Yakushiji temple was established by Emperor Tenmu in prayer of the recovery of his consort (who later succeeded him as Empress Jito)

Location: Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Daikandaiji Temple Site

Nara 

Daikandaiji temple was a state temple with grounds in six city blocks within Fujiwara-kyo.

Location: Asuka-mura, Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Hinokumadera Temple Site

Nara 

Hinokumadera was the temple of the Yamato no Aya clan and was established in Hinokuma where many foreigners lived.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Ishibutai Tomb

Nara 

The Ishibutai Tomb is an ancient stone tumulus tomb built by stacking 30 giant stones and is one of the largest of its kind in Japan. The dirt mound has been lost, revealing the flat ceiling rocks. It is named Ishibutai (stone stage). The mound is 50-meters-long on each side, and there is an 8.4-meter-wide moat dug around the mound. The ceiling rocks are the largest rocks used in a stone tumulus tomb in Japan. It is said that the stone on the south side weighs about 77 tons and that on the north side, about 64 tons. Although it is not known who is interred here, the theory that it is the tomb of Soga no Umako seems likely.

Location: Shimano-sho, Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture.

Shobuike Tomb

Nara 

Shobuike Tomb is a rectangular-shaped ancient tumulus tomb built in the mid-7th century. Each side is about 30 meters in length.

Location: Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Kengoshizuka Tomb

Nara 

Kengoshizuka Tomb is a polygon-shaped ancient tumulus tomb built in the late 7th century. It is about 22-meters long to the opposite side.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Nakaoyama Tomb

Nara 

The Nakaoyama Tomb is a polygon-shaped ancient tumulus tomb built in the early 8th century.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kitora Tomb

Nara 

The Kitora Tomb is a two-tiered round ancient tumulus tomb. It is thought to have been built some time between the late 7th century and early 8th century. Although it is not known who is interred her, the wall paintings within the stone chamber depict four ancient, legendary divine beasts as well as a star chart that is believed to be the oldest in the world. Like the Takamatsuzuka tomb, the Kitora Tomb is believed to be of importance in the research of the flow of East Asian culture.

Location: Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Takamatsuzuka Tomb

Nara 

The Takamatsuzuka Tomb is a small, round ancient tumulus tomb. However, it gathered much attention when a full color mural (National Treasure) was discovered within the stone chamber in March 1972. The stone burial chamber shows ancient Chinese Taoist influence. An azure dragon and the sun is depicted on the east wall, while a white tiger and moon are depicted on the west wall. A xuánwŭ (Chinese god) is depicted on the north wall, and there are portraits depicted on both sides of the east and west wall. A star chart is depicted on the ceiling. Details are not known of the person interred in the tomb. Although it is not possible to view the interior of the ancient tumulus tomb, precise replicas and models can be seen at the Takamatsuzuka Mural Hall located adjacent to the tomb.

Location: Hirata, Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Kohechi Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama Nara 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Kohechi Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
The Kohechi route is the steepest of the Kumano pilgrimage routes. There are three mountain passes at altitudes of over 1000 meter along this route.

Locations: Koya-cho, Ito-gun, and Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture; Nosegawa-mura and Totsukawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Omine Okugakemichi Pilgrimage Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama Nara 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Omine Okugakemichi Pilgrimage Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
The Omine Okugakemichi pilgrimage route is a path used as training by practitioners of Shugen-do, Buddhism. It connects Yoshino, Omine and Kumano. It passes along the ridges of mountains that are nearly 2,000 meters high. There are training and testing grounds at many areas along the route.

Locations: Yoshino-cho, Kawakami-mura, Kurotaki-mura, Tenkawa-mura, Kamikitayama-mura, Shimokitayama-mura and Totsukawa-mura, Yoshino-gun; and Gojo City, Nara Prefecture, and Tanabe City and Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture

Odaigahara/Ominesan UNESCO Park

Nara  Mie 

In 1983, a portion of Odaigahara and Ominesan was certified as UNESCO park. In particular, Ominesan holds a very unique position in the world as it has been certified both as an eco park and as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Location: Periphery of Odaigahara (Kamikitayamamura and Odaimachi) and Ominesan (only areas between Tenkawa village and Totsukawa village).

WakayamaOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Tottori | tokushima | fukui | mie

Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
Since its foundation in ancient times, Kumano Hongu Taisha grand shrine used to be situated on a sandbank known as Oyunohara. However, after flooding 1889, three buildings of the four upper shrines were relocated to their current location.

Hongucho Hongu, Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
Kumano Hayatama Taisha grand shrine is situated near the mouth of the Kumanogawa river. At the grand shrine is Nagi no Ki, an Asian bayberry that is considered sacred by believers. Designated a Natural Monument, the tree spreads its majestic trunk and boughs in the shrine precinct.

Location: Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
The origin of Kumano Nachi Taisha was animism in which a large waterfall called Nachi no Otaki was worshipped. In addition to the twelve deities of Kumano, Kumano Nachi Taisha also enshrines Hiro Gongen, which is the deified Nachi no Otaki waterfall.

Location: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
Before the government ordinance to separate Shintoism and Buddhism was issued, Nachisan Seiganto-ji temple was known as Nyoirindo and an integral part of Kumano Nachi Taisha. It is also known as the first destination of the Saigoku pilgrimage.

Location: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Nachi Waterfall

World Heritage  Japanese Geoparks 

Wakayama 

 Nachi Waterfall

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
Nachi no Otaki (Nachi Waterfall) is 133 meters high and 13 meters wide. It is Japan’s highest waterfall, a scenic waterfall that drops down a vertical cliff.

There are many waterfalls upstream, and collectively, they are known as the 48 waterfalls of Nachi. The area is known as training and testing grounds for practitioners of Shugendo Buddhism.

Location: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Nachi Primeval Forest

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Nachi Primeval Forest

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
The Nachi Primeval Forest extends about 33.5 hectares to the east of Nachi Waterfall. It has been protected since ancient times, with logging prohibited as a forest attached to the Nachi Taisha grand shrine. Together with the waterfall, the primeval forest shows today’s visitors what the area looked like in ancient times.

Location: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Fudarakuzan-ji Temple

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Fudarakuzan-ji Temple

The sacred site of Kumano consists of three Shinto shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) and two Buddhist temples (Nachisan Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji).
Fudarakusan-ji temple is known as the temple from where priests set sail to the southern seas in search of the Fudaraku Jodo Buddhist Pure Land.

Location: Hamanomiya, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Koyasan Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Koyasan Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine

Koyasan is a mountaintop city of religion with a 1200-year history of mountain worship. Here, temples and lush, untouched nature form a cultural landscape related to the religious faith.
Niutsuhime-jinja is known as the tutelary god of Koyasan. It took its current form when the Buddhist buildings in the precinct were destroyed in compliance with the 1868 government ordinance to separate Shintoism and Buddhism.

Location: Kamiamano, Katsuragi-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Koyasan Kongobu-ji Head Temple

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Koyasan Kongobu-ji Head Temple

Koyasan is a mountaintop city of religion with a 1200-year history of mountain worship. Here, temples and lush, untouched nature form a cultural landscape related to the religious faith.
Kongobu-ji Head Temple has a distinctive layout that expresses the doctrines of the Shingon esoteric school of Buddhism. Together with the Okuno-in, Kongobu-ji is known as the “Two Dais” and is an important sacred area at Koyasan.

Location: Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Koyasan Jison-in Temple

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Koyasan Jison-in Temple

Koyasan is a mountaintop city of religion with a 1200-year history of mountain worship. Here, temples and lush, untouched nature form a cultural landscape related to the religious faith.
Jison-in temple was built on the south bank of the Kinokawa River. Its Amida Hall (main hall) houses a seated figure of the Miroku Bosatu (Maitreya), which is a National Treasure.

Location: Jison-in, Kudoyama-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Koyasan Niukanshofu-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Koyasan Niukanshofu-jinja Shrine

Koyasan is a mountaintop city of religion with a 1200-year history of mountain worship. Here, temples and lush, untouched nature form a cultural landscape related to the religious faith.
When establishing administrative offices at the foot of Mt. Koya, Kobo Daishi (Kukai) enshrined two deities at Niukanshofu-jinja shrine as the guardian gods of the administrative offices.

Location: Jison-in, Kudoyama-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Nakahechi Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Nakahechi Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
There are Oji shrines or their remains dotting the Nakahechi route. These shrines are dedicated to the offspring of the deities of Kumano. Boats on the Kumano River were used to travel between Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha.

Locations: Tanabe City, Shingu City and Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Ohechi Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Ohechi Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
You can enjoy the beauty of the coastline on the Ohechi route. It has been used since the Edo period by people combining their pilgrimages with sightseeing.

Locations: Shirahama-cho and Susami-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Kohechi Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama Nara 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Kohechi Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
The Kohechi route is the steepest of the Kumano pilgrimage routes. There are three mountain passes at altitudes of over 1000 meter along this route.

Locations: Koya-cho, Ito-gun, and Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture; Nosegawa-mura and Totsukawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Iseji Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama  Mie 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Iseji Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
The Iseji route was used primarily by those traveling from the east. Its use by pilgrims started to increase from the Edo period when pilgrimages to the Ise-jingu shrine and western Japan became popular.

Locations: Owase City; Kumano City; Taiki-cho, Watarai-gun; Kihoku-cho, Kitamuro-gun; and Mihama-cho and Kiho-cho, Minamimuro-gun, Mie Prefecture, and Tanabe-City and Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
Koyasan Choishimichi was the most widely used pilgrimage route up until the Edo period. Stone guide posts called cho-ishi were set between the Danjo Garan (temple complex) and Jiso-in, located at the foot of Mt. Koya, and between the Danjo Garan and Okuno-in. The guide posts were set every “cho,” which is an ancient measure of about 109 meters.

Locations: Kudoyama-cho, Katsuragi-cho and Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Omine Okugakemichi Pilgrimage Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama Nara 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Omine Okugakemichi Pilgrimage Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
The Omine Okugakemichi pilgrimage route is a path used as training by practitioners of Shugen-do, Buddhism. It connects Yoshino, Omine and Kumano. It passes along the ridges of mountains that are nearly 2,000 meters high. There are training and testing grounds at many areas along the route.

Locations: Yoshino-cho, Kawakami-mura, Kurotaki-mura, Tenkawa-mura, Kamikitayama-mura, Shimokitayama-mura and Totsukawa-mura, Yoshino-gun; and Gojo City, Nara Prefecture, and Tanabe City and Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture

Oyunohara

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Oyunohara

Oyunohara is located on a sandbank where the Kumano River and its sub streams, Otonashi River and Iwata River, merge. The Kumano Hongu Taisha was situated there until 1889, with other Shinto structures lining the precinct.

Location: Hongu-cho Hongu, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture

Kamikura-jinja Shrine

World Heritage 

Wakayama 

 Kamikura-jinja Shrine

Kamikura-jinja is a shrine affiliated with Kumano Hatayama Taisha grand shrine that is located elsewhere. The object of worship there is a giant rock called Gotobiki-iwa, which means “toad rock” in the local dialect

Location: Shingu, Shingu City

Nanki Kumano Geopark

Japanese Geoparks 

Wakayama 

 Nanki Kumano Geopark

Nanki Kumano Geopark provides an opportunity to experience numerous instances of the greatness of nature and culture. Starting with its unique scenary created by the three types of soil resulting from the sinking of tectonic plates, one can witness diverse fauna and flora created by warm warm and humid climate, and the Kumano faith as well as Ikada-nagashi (floating bound timber downstream).

TottoriOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | tokushima | fukui | mie

Place to purify your body and heal your six senses - Japan's most dangerous national treasure and one of the world's most popular radium hot springs - Mount Mitoku and Misasa Hot Springs

Tottori 

 Place to purify your body and heal your six senses - Japan's most dangerous national treasure and one of the world's most popular radium hot springs - Mount Mitoku and Misasa Hot Springs

Mount Mitoku is home to a temple for the syncretization of Shinto and Buddhism, uniquely standing on a cliff for the purpose of religious training and practice. For a thousand years, the ascetic beauty of the temple has been a source of awe for visitors.
"Misasa Hot Springs" is a place to cleanse oneself before visiting the temple and is believed to have been discovered by a white wolf. The springs is still deeply tied to the Mount Mitoku religion today, 900 years since its beginning.
Climbing the cliff to Mount Mitoku pulifies six parts of the body; the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. And the hot springs heals the six senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and mind. The temple and hot springs were designated as "Japan Heritage" by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in April, 2015.

Mt.Mitoku

Tottori 

 Mt.Mitoku

Mt. Mitoku is a sacred mountain where many people have sought refuge for their faith. The area including Oshikakei in the proximity is known as a scenic area where the relationship between people and nature is manifested, as a place to practice one's faith, and as a scenic attraction comprised of religious facilities.
With an elevation of 200m from the main temple at the foot of Mt. Mitoku, the approach that leads to the Nageire-do Hall of Sanbutsu-ji Temple (national treasure) are dotted with many rough spots that evoke the severity in the practice of Buddhist asceticism. Along the way, important cultural properties such as Monjudo halls or Jizodo halls are interspersed. Enveloped by deep mountain ranges, the miraculous group of Buddhist halls that stand on a steep clif continue to spellbind people from ancient days.
Location: 1010 Mitoku, Misasa, Tohaku District, Tottori Prefecture

Nageire-do Hall of Sanbutsu-ji Temple on Mt.Mitoku

Tottori 

 Nageire-do Hall of Sanbutsu-ji Temple on Mt.Mitoku

Nageire-do which is said to have been thrown in by the founder of Shukendo En no Gyoja's superpower is built on the mountainside of Mt. Mitoku, revealing its graceful features that makes it hard to say whether it is floating or built on a vertical cliff that has no pathway. With an elevation of 200m, the approach that leads to Nageire-do from the main hall at the foot of Mt.Mitoku are dotted with rough spots that evoke the severe practices of Shugendo as one is forced to climb over tree roots and boulders. However, the panoramic view and the sense of achievement as you arrive is something else.
Location: 1010 Mitoku, Misasa, Tohaku District, Tottori Prefecture

Daisen-ji Temple

Tottori 

 Daisen-ji Temple

Daisen-ji Temple which was founded by Konrenshonin during the Yoro Era (717 to 724) flourished as the dojo of Shugendo that seeks refuge in Sangaku-shinko faith.
The increase in the number of temples after the Heian Era with over 100 temples and more than 3000 monk soldiers at its peak, Daisen-ji Temple was a force to be reckoned alongside Hieizan, Yoshinoyama, and Kouyasan. One can see its ascendancy during the time from the stone walls along the approach.
Location: Daisen, Daisen-cho, Saihaku District, Tottori Prefecture

Ogamiyama-jinja Shrine

Tottori 

 Ogamiyama-jinja Shrine

Ogamiyama-jinja Shrine sits as the center of Oyama's faith which had been worshipped as the great god Owasuyama, or Ookaminotake, from the ancient days.
The approach that spans about 700m is said to be the longest in Japan as an approach that has been laid with natural rocks. The main sanctuary of Gongen-zukuri, one of the largest in Japan, emanates a majestic ambiance. To the Summer Mountain Opening that announces the arrival of Oyama's summer mountain season, the 2000-people torch column-line starts from here.
Location: Daisen, Daisen-cho, Saihaku District, Tottori Prefecture

San'in Kaigan Geopark (Tottori Prefecture Area)

Global Geoparks 

Tottori 

 San'in Kaigan Geopark (Tottori Prefecture Area)

San'in Kaigan Geopark is an area where one can observe the phenomena starting from the formation of Japan Sea to the invaluable topography/geographical heritage that continues until today. Furthermore it is a region where one can come across on numerous occasions people's culture and history with the diverse nature serving as the backdrop.
The expansive Tottori sand dunes that spread across the coastal line of Tottori City stretches 16km east to west and runs 2.4km north to south. It is delicately preserved as a designated special protection area within the San'in Kaigan National Park which is a natural monument designated by the state. The wind from the Japan Sea creates a beautiful wave pattern on the sand called Fumon and visitors are awestruck by its beauty. Many tourists visit the sand dunes and most of them aim for the big sand dune called the horse's back. From the summit, one can enjoy the big panoramic view of Japan Sea.
Getting there: About 20 minutes by bus to Tottori sand dunes from Tottori station.

TokushimaOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | fukui | mie

The Eighty-eight Temples and Pilgrimage Route of Shikoku

Tokushima 

 The Eighty-eight Temples and Pilgrimage Route of Shikoku

The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a great pilgrimage route of holy places where pilgrims visit the related sites to Kobodaishi Kukai by circumambulating the entire island of Shikoku which spans 1400km in length. As a spiritual practice to make a pilgrimage to the holy sites that were visited by Kukai, it is said that the wandering by Buddhist monks and ascetic monks around Shikoku to be the beginning of the tradition.
The Shikoku Pilgrimage is said to be an Intangible Cultural Asset where many people go on a walking pilgrimage with beliefs unique to their own. It is a pilgrimage route that is unprecedented in the world. In recent years there have been many visitors from home and abroad as it gains attention as a place where that needs to be visited at least once.
Location: Located in Tokushima Prefecture and throughout the other three prefectures of Shikoku.

The Whirlpools of Naruto

Tokushima 

 The Whirlpools of Naruto

The Naruto Strait, which is in between Naruto and Awaji Island, and where the Seto Inland Sea and Kii Channel meet, is said to be one of the three tidal currents of the world alongside the Strait of Messina of Italy and Seymour Narrows of the United States. It is said that the tidal variation reaches up to 15 to 20km/h. For that reason, whirl currents, large and small are generated and the largest can reach up to 20m in diameter.
The world famous whirling currents are simply overwhelming. The observation of the whirling current is best either one hour before and after the full or low tide, and the great tide during spring and fall is said to be the largest throughout the year.
Location: 65 Fukuike Tosadomariura Narutocho Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture (inside Naruto Park).

Vine Bridge in the Iya Valley

Tokushima 

 Vine Bridge in the Iya Valley

The Vine Bridge located in Iya, one of the mysterious sites of Japan, is known as one of the Three Eccentric Bridges of Japan. The bridge is made from Actinidia arguta (weighs about 5 ton), and the measurement is: length 45m, width 2m, above water 14m. Long ago it was the only transportation facility around the Miyama Valley area. Looking below, the river bed can be seen between the gaps of the bridge, and it is a thrilling experience as the bridge shakes when one tries to walk. It is one of the famous attractions in the area.
The bridge girder is changed every three years.
Location: 162-2 Nishiiyayamamura Zentoku, Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture

FukuiOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | mie

Heisen-ji Temple

Fukui 

 Heisen-ji Temple

Heisen-ji Temple is a mountain temple located at the Echizen side entrance for the sacred mountain Hakusan (2,702 meters above sea level). It is thought to have been founded by the esteemed religious leader Taicho in the year 717. From ancient times through to the late Middle Ages, this temple maintained strong religious power against a backdrop of Hakusan mountain worship. However, in 1574, the temple was attacked by Ikko Ikki insurgents and the entire mountain was burned to the ground. Reconstruction started after this. However, the grounds were reduced to about one tenth their former size and most of the monk residential quarter remains were buried under mountain forest and field areas. Then, with the Meiji separation of Shinto and Buddhism, it lost its status as a Buddhist temple and was reclassified as "Hakusan-jinja Shrine," the name it maintains to this day. The entire old grounds are designated as a national historical site. Also, the entire expanse from Mount Hakusan across the Heisen-ji Temple / Hakusan-jinja Shrine grounds is designated as the Hakusan National Park.
Location: Heisenjicho Heisenji, Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture

Dinosaur Valley Fukui Katsuyama Geopark

Japanese Geoparks 

Fukui 

 Dinosaur Valley Fukui Katsuyama Geopark

The Dinosaur Valley Fukui Katsuyama Geopark (Recognized as a geopark October 2009) is a geopark that encompasses the entire area of Katsuyama City in Fukui Prefecture. Starting in 1989, in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture’s Dinosaur Fossil Excavation Survey Project has produced many dinosaur fossils of great scientific value. The discovery and restoration of complete skeletal structures of the Fukuiraptor and Fukuisaurus, as well as dinosaur eggs and fossils of developing dinosaurs, bring to light the conditions that dinosaurs lived in.


MieOther regions Shiga| Kyoto | Osaka | Hyogo | nara | Wakayama | Tottori | tokushima | fukui

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Iseji Route

World Heritage 

Wakayama  Mie 

 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes Iseji Route

There were four routes leading to Kumano Sanzan. After following the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, which was the route used most often by those making a pilgrimage to Kumano, one could either take the mountainous path from Tanabe (Nakahechi route) or proceed along the coast (Ohechi route). Other options were the the Kohechi route that went from Koyasan to Kumano, and the Iseji route, which went from Ise-jingu to Kumano.
The Iseji route was used primarily by those traveling from the east. Its use by pilgrims started to increase from the Edo period when pilgrimages to the Ise-jingu shrine and western Japan became popular.

Locations: Owase City; Kumano City; Taiki-cho, Watarai-gun; Kihoku-cho, Kitamuro-gun; and Mihama-cho and Kiho-cho, Minamimuro-gun, Mie Prefecture, and Tanabe-City and Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture

Odaigahara/Ominesan UNESCO Park

Nara  Mie 

In 1983, a portion of Odaigahara and Ominesan was certified as UNESCO park. In particular, Ominesan holds a very unique position in the world as it has been certified both as an eco park and as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Location: Periphery of Odaigahara (Kamikitayamamura and Odaimachi) and Ominesan (only areas between Tenkawa village and Totsukawa village).

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