[Sightseeing in Wakayama] A trip from Koyasan to Kumano Hongu Taisha by Koyasan & Kumano Access Bus – Part 2
Koyasan, the head temple of Shingo Esoteric Buddhism, and Kumano Sanzan (the three grand shrines of Kumano) where the gods of nature reside, are two major sanctuaries that have long been worshiped by people.
I took a ride on the World Heritages Sites Connecting Bus “Koyasan & Kumano Access Bus” which linked up the two sacred places and shared with you my travel blog in the second part of article. If you are interested in Kumano Hongu Taisha and its surrounding spots, please don’t miss out.
- Pilgrimage bus trip (Part 2)
- 14:22 Arrival at Hongu Taisha-mae
- 15:00 Salvation for future lives at Kumano Hongu Taisha
- 15:30 Enjoyed the famous mochi (rice cake) at Chinchoan, Hongu Branch
- 16:00 To another power spot, Oyunohara
- 16:30 Returned to Kumano Hongu Heritage Center and purchased the Kumano Gobo Nankai Bus Free Pass ticket
- Waited for the bus to accommodation at Kumano Hongu Heritage Center
- Let’s take the Koyasan-Kumano Access Bus to travel between Koyasan & Kumano Hongu Taisha!
Pilgrimage bus trip (Part 2)
Bus route in Part 2 and the travelling tips are as follows:
14:22 Arrival at Hongu Taisha-mae
After riding for about 4.5 hours, we were going to arrive at Hongu Taisha-mae. The Kumano Hongu Taisha was just a short distance from here, but first of all, I decided to take a look at the nearby Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.
The Kumano Hongu Heritage Center was divided into South and North blocks, and both of them were equipped with an exhibition corner introducing the history of Kumano and Koyasan with a theme of sacred pilgrimage. I spent some time in reading the materials and bore in mind some important information before heading to the Kumano Hongu Taisha.
◎Basic information of Kumano Hongu Heritage Center
|Operating hours:||9：00～17：00（Open year around）|
|Address||100-1 Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama Prefecture|
|Homepage||Click here for details|
【A side note】
※Click the icon and the details will be shown.
There were coin-lockers just 1-min walk from Kumano Hongu Heritage Center. It is better to have your luggage stored in the coin-lockers if you are carrying luggage.
15:00 Salvation for future lives at Kumano Hongu Taisha
Kumano Hongu Taisha is one of the three grand shrines that make up Kumano Sanzan of Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha and Seiganto-ji.
It was said that one can purify the sins of previous life at Hayatama Taisha Shrine, attain the grace of the gods in their present life at Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine and find salvation for future lives at Kumano Hongu Taisha. Visiting all three shrines is believed to bring good luck to your past, present and future lives. Many people have come to worship since ancient times.
As long as I stepped into the shrine, I felt as if I was surrounded by a strong sense of sacred and solemn atmosphere. I believe this is the reason that it kept attracting people coming for worship.
I walked through a path surrounded by giant cedar and cypress trees on both sides leading to 158 stone steps (※) to the main building. The long stair made me huffed and puffed on the way when I climbed. Though it was tough, I did not give up and determined to go up slowly.
(※) A wheelchair-accessible pathway is available.
I finally arrived at the main building. There was a shimenawa rope strung across the entrance representing a typical Shinto shrine. Gods were enshrined at 5 different places. There was a signboard in front of the office that explained the order of worship, so please read it carefully before visiting. By the way, photo shooting was prohibited from this point onward.
I got a red stamp after visiting the shrine. At Kumano Hongu Taisha, you will be given a limited edition of red stamp after visiting. I was crazy at any stuff of limited edition, so I got a special design of a April’s red stamp in memory of my visit.
◎Basic information of Kumano Hongu Taisha
|Address||1110 Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama Prefecture|
|Homepage||Click here for details|
15:30 Enjoyed the famous mochi (rice cake) at Chinchoan, Hongu Branch
After visiting the shrine, I returned to the torii gate entrance. I was exhausted by going up and down the stairs, so I decided to take a rest nearby.
I was attracted by the shop with staff yelling the mochi was pounded and freshly made in early morning. I entered the shop and ordered a mochi set with 2 types of mochi and a cup matcha tea.
In the photo, it was the “Kumano Moude Mochi” on the left and “Uguisu Mochi” on the right. The mochi was so stretchy and chewy and it matched well with a cup of matcha tea.
【A side note】
Moude Mochi is only sold at Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha. Remember to treat yourself with a softly mochi after visiting the shrines.
◎Basic information of Chinchoan, Hongu Branch
|Open hours||9:00 ～16:00
※Closed on every Wed.
|Address|| 195-3 Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama Prefecture
(In front of Kumano Hongu Taisha, inside Zuihouden)
|Homepage||Click here for details|
16:00 To another power spot, Oyunohara
There was a place that has been on my mind since I was on the bus. It was the giant torii gate. It was surrounded by paddy fields, making it stand out. I was wondering what it actually was. Let me take a look closer.
The torii gate looked bigger and bigger when I got closer and it looked as if extending to the sky.
I bowed and passed through the torii gate, as it was written. It was the Oyunohara, the former site of Kumano Hongu Taisha. At the time, the grounds housed five complexes of 12 shrine buildings, a two-story Romon gate, Kagura-den dance stage, Noh theater stage and other facilities. A great flood at August, 1889 (Meiji 22) swept away many of the buildings, but four buildings which survived the disaster were relocated and enshrined in the current Kumano Hongu Taisha location.
Taking photo is prohibited after passing through the gate. There were some small stone shrines at Oyunohara. The area had a solemn and a refreshing atmosphere and I appreciated the tranquility of this place.
◎Basic information “Oyunohara”
|Open hours||Free visiting (no reservation is needed)|
|Address||1 Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama Prefecture|
|Related site||Click here for details|
16:30 Returned to Kumano Hongu Heritage Center and purchased the Kumano Gobo Nankai Bus Free Pass ticket
The Koyasan & Kumano Access Bus I rode today had a final stop at “Hongu Taisha-mae”. I was still yet to decide which transportation to take for tomorrow. I went to the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center and figured out the free pass ticket.
The free pass ticket was an unlimited bus ride ticket offered by the Kumano Gobo Nankai Bus Company, with a validity of 1-3 days upon purchase.
In this case, if I buy a 2-day free pass ticket today, I can still use it until tomorrow. With this ticket, I can just show the pass to the driver whenever I board, it saves me the trouble of getting small coins every time.
【A side note】
Types of Free Pass ticket are listed as follows:
|1-Day Free Pass ticket||Adult 3,000yen||Child 1,500yen||Only valid on the day it is purchased.|
|2-Day Free Pass ticket||Adult 3,500yen||Child 1,750yen||Valid for 2 days from day of purchase|
|3-Day Free Pass ticket||Adult 4,000yen||Child 2,000yen||Valid for 3 days from day of purchase|
As I was staying at Kawayu Onsen tonight, and going to Shingu and Katsuura tomorrow for the Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha, I bought the 2-day pass ticket.
※Since there was no bus going to “Kawayu, Wataze, Yunomine Onsen” operated by Kumano Gobo Nankai Bus Co. in the afternoon, I could not use the pass ticket for that ride. However, as it was valid for 2 days, I could use it for the rides next morning.
The Kumano Gobo Nankai Bus Free Pass ticket can be purchased at the south block of the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center. You might check with the staff if you were not sure how to use the free pass ticket to your destination.
※Advanced reservation is not required. It can also be purchased inside the Koyasan & Kumano Access Bus (only within the section of Koyasan Station – Gomadanzan). Regarding other details (ticket counters, timetables etc.) of the pass ticket, please refer to the official homepage or this article.
Waited for the bus to accommodation at Kumano Hongu Heritage Center
I might have forgotten to tell you at the beginning, Kumano Hongu Heritage Center was spacious and clean. Not only were toilets, vending machines, benches equipped at the center, but also WIFI was available, which helped a lot while waiting a bus. Moreover, the view was nice and out of my expectation if you go through the path connecting south and north blocks. I also recommended you to relax there on a sunny day. I was able to wait for the bus comfortably at the center.
Let’s take the Koyasan-Kumano Access Bus to travel between Koyasan & Kumano Hongu Taisha!
I shared with you in 2 articles on my bus travel experience with the Koyasan and Kumano Access Bus. Hiking through the Kumano Kodo from Koyasan to Kumano Hongu Taisha is feasible, but taking the Koyasan & Kumano Access Bus offered you a different kind of fun experience. The stunning view which I saw from the bus window and the unique products that I met in the rest areas impressed me a lot. If you are planning to visit Koyasan and the three grand shrines at Kumano, why not consider taking the Koyasan & Kumano Access Bus?