History / Culture / Tour Spots in Wakayama Area

  • Okunoin Temple
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    5.0
    1247 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan
    "One of the Two Great Holy Sites of Mt. Koyasan, this land is where Kukai (Kobo Daishi) died while meditating. There is also a mausoleum where Kukai is said to still be meditating today. On the two-kilometer approach path that connects to the mausoleum features cedar trees which are 700 years old, as well as over 200,000 gravestones and memorial monuments of royalty to commoners. The toro lantern tower in front of the mausoleum is a must-see. At the front on the inside, the Kishin lanterns devoted by Kishin shonin and the Shirakawa lanterns devoted by the Emperor Shirakawa have remained burning for over 1000 years as an ""unquenched flame."" The area ahead of the Gobyo bridge closest to the mausoleum is holy land, so taking photographs is prohibited."

    Okunoin Cemetery is really impressive, big, with history. We did the night visit and I thought that its not worth paying to have a guide. They explain you things, but nothing you cant know taking a...

  • Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine
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    4.5
    534 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Tanabeshi Honguchouhongu
    This Shinto shrine is one of the Three Head Kumano Shrines which serve as the headquarters of all Kumano shrines nationwide. Known as the first stop on the penance-filled Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage, since ancient times this shrine has been visited by countless worshipers of the Kumano faith, which seeks to achieve self-enlightenment through penance. The main building was erected in the Asuka period and was relocated to its current location after being damaged in the Great Flood of 1889. After climbing 158 stone steps through a cedar forest, the shrine’s four hinoki bark-thatched buildings will appear, which enshrine Ketsumiko no okami and the shrine’s three other chief gods.

    This shrine is very nice and even 3 of 5 parts are from origin (saved by the flood) , this worth it to come. You can smell the tree odor in this shrine. Roof are amazing

  • Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine
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    4.5
    616 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunnachikatsurachou Nachisan 1
    One of the Three Head Kumano Shrines which serve as the headquarters of all Kumano shrines nationwide. Unlike the other two, however, the origin of this shrine lies in a primeval faith which sees the Nachi Falls deep in the mountains as sacred. At the affiliated Hiro-jinja Shrine, the falls themselves are worshipped, and since ancient times this shrine has been visited by numerous faithful and other visitors asking for a long life. Visitors can drink the water at the falls’ basin from a platform directly in front of the falls; the water is said to give longevity. The shrine’s grounds contain six vermillion lacquered buildings such as the main nave, hall of worship, and treasure house, as well as numerous other points of note such as the Stone of the Yatagarasu (a mythical three-legged crow), and a massive 850-year-old tree planted by the noble Taira no Shigemori.

    It takes 20-30 minutes walk either by stairs or walking up to get to the temple but its all worth it. You can see the temple with nachi falls as the background. There is Kwan Im statue as well.

  • Kongobuji Temple
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    4.5
    499 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan 132
    "The main temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect, this temple is the core of Mt. Koyasan, holy land of the Shingon Esoteric Buddhism founded by Kukai (Kobo Daishi). This place is functioned as temple office for the whole of Mt. Koyasan. The best features include the lacquer paintings of the Kano school and the Unkoku school in the main hall which has a characteristic cypress-thatched roof, and the ""Banryutei"" which is one of the largest stone gardens in the country. In this stone garden, the cloud sea is represented by white pebbles, while two dragons, male and female, are depicted protecting the inner shrine."

    Kongōbu-ji temple is quite big, with a nice entrance. It has several halls and alleys. Its free and its one of Koyasans highlights. When we were there, it was a rainy and cloudy day so we couldnt...

  • Danjo Garan Temple
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    4.5
    369 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan 152
    Together with the Okunoin, one of the two most sacred sites on holy Mt. Koya. It is also the first site where the famed monk Kukai began building in order to erect his main dojo for his esoteric Shingon teachings. The temple is comprised of 19 buildings, including the Konpon Daito tower, the symbol of the temple; the main temple hall, and Goeido hall. The main temple hall, located in the center of the grounds, is the central temple nave of Mt. Koya and almost all of the most important ceremonies on the mountain are conducted here. The temple’s principle object of worship is a figure of Bhaisajyaguru; this statue is a hidden image and is not displayed to the general public.

    The whole temple area is quite impressive, with lots of templs, halls.. and everything within the nature. If youre lucky, it wont be too crowded. In if youre even luckier, youll have a nice day...

  • Seiganto-ji Temple
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    4.5
    269 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunnachikatsurachou Nachisan 8
    A Tendai sect Buddhist temple which is the first station on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. Once a great Shugendo Shinto-Buddhist temple dedicated to Nachi Falls, it was divided into the Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and Seiganto-ji Temple with the official order separating Buddhism and Shintoism in the country. The temple has long been a holy place in the Kumano faith, which seeks self-enlightenment through the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. The temple’s main object of worship, a figure of Cintamanicakra, is said to have been found at the basin of Nachi Falls and enshrined here by Ragyo, a priest who came to Japan from India during the reign of Emperor Nintoku (313-399). The vermillion three-tier pagoda behind the main temple nave harmonizes with the falls and creates a beautiful (and popular) photo spot.

    I didnt venture in, but was all around it trying see best vantage point to incorporate it, the pagoda and falls into a good photo.

  • Kamikura-jinja Shrine
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    4.5
    193 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Shingushi Kamikura 1-13-8
    A Shinto shrine located in 1 Chome Kamikura, Shingu City. Situated on sacred ground where the god Kumano Omikami first descended to Earth. The Kodobiki Boulder, considered a sacred natural object and deity, is also located on the shrine grounds at the top of over 5000 natural stone steps. The Oto Matsuri, held each year on February 6, is an unusual festival in which white robed men carrying torches lit with a sacred flame run down a series of stone steps. The festival is designated an Important Intangible Folk-Cultural Property.

    the shrine is ok. the hike up is more interesting and abit taxing up rock steps which is pretty steep at some areas..

  • Koyasan Reihokan Museum
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    4.5
    159 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan 306
    This facility preserves and displays invaluable Buddhist imagery and paintings from temples on Mt. Koya, such as the Kongobu-ji temple, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism. Opened in 1921, the museum's collection currently includes some 28 thousand important works of art, including 21 National Treasures, 143 Important Cultural Properties, and 16 Wakayama Prefecturally Designated Cultural Properties. During the extremely popular Great Treasure Hall Exhibition in summer, the museum displays the Eight Great Youths, a sculpture designated a National Treasure that was carved by Unkei, the greatest Buddhist imagery maker of the Kamakura period.

    Koyasan recently celebrated it 1200th anniversary, and some of the treasures in this museum are that old, loaned from some of the 100 monasteries on this mountain. The museum is small and so displays...

  • Hiro-jinja Shrine
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    4.0
    133 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Higashimuro-gun Nachikatsuuracho Nachisan
    A 20-minute drive from JR Kii-Katsuura Station. This Shinto shrine is a subordinate shrine to Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, counted among the Three Main Kumano Shrines; Nachi Falls is the shrine's shintai, or object of worship. The shrine has no front shrine and instead visitors worship in an area around 200 meters in front of the waterfall. Accordingly, visitors may participate in a formal prayer service not only in the Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine's Honden but also here in front of the waterfall; and after the 30-minute service is over, participants can listen to a lecture on the history of the shrine. The shrine sells lucky charms depicting a dragon god based on an ancient legend that a dragon lives in the falls.

    It sure gives you perspective on how high the falls are when you reach it foot; you have an opportunity to try some of the water.

  • Kokawa-dera Temple
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    4.0
    65 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Kinokawashi Kokawa 2787
    This temple is located in Kokawa, Kinokawa City. It is the third pilgrimage site of the “Saikoku Sanjusansho” pilgrimage that takes visitors to various holy sites associated with Kannon. It was constructed at the end of the Nara period in 770 by Otomo no Kujiko. The main temple building was rebuilt in 1720, and it features a very rare design that combines a single-roof worship hall with a double-roof main hall, making it an Important Cultural Property.

    We drove from Negoro-ji Temple to Kokawa-ji Temple, both of which stand at the southern foot of the Izumi Mountains north of the Kinokawa River. Kokawa-ji Temple is believed to have been established...

  • Kumagaiji Temple
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    4.5
    95 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Ito-gun Koyacho Koyasan 501
    This temple was established on the wishes of Prince Kazurawara, the third son of Emperor Kanmu. Although located in Koyasan, the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism, the temple is counted as one the unnumbered temples of the 25 Sacred Sites of Honen Shonin, the founder of Pure Land Buddhism. The temple, which currently serves as lodgings for temple visitors, is adjacent to the Ichinohashi-guchi bus stop that leads to Koyasan Okunoin Temple. The name of the temple comes from the Heian period soldier Kumagai Naozane, who appears in the Tale of the Heike. The temple is where Kumagai performed a memorial service for the young warrior Taira-no-Atsumori, who he slew in single combat. Notable monks such as Honen and Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land Buddhism) have also stayed at the temple. Honen, Shinran, and Naozane each carved statues of their images reflected in the surface of the temple's well during their visits. Each of these statues was enshrined in the temple's Enkodo Hall.

    Kumagaiji is a temple where you can stay. You sleep in a very spacious Ryokan-style room. Bathrooms and onsen are shared, but very clean. You share your dinner and breakfast with the rest of the...

  • Minakata Kumagusu Museum
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    4.5
    81 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 3601-1
    This museum uses written and other materials to present the achievements of Kumagusu Minakata, natural historian and folklorist from Wakayama Prefecture. The museum displays over 700 items, including his beloved glasses, research equipment, and samples of plants collected overseas. There is also an exhibit where visitors can view via microscope the slime mold Minakata gave a lecture on to Emperor Hirohito. Located on the tip of a peninsula, the 360-degree panoramic view from the museum’s roof is stunning. (Note: The museum is currently closes for construction. The main and new buildings are scheduled to open March 19, 2017.)

    Prior to this visit to Japan, I had never heard of this remarkable man. He spent many years traveling, living in the USA and London before returning home. He did much research on slime molds and also...

  • Turkish Museum
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    4.0
    82 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunkushimotochou Kashino 1025-25
    You’ll find this Turkish memorial building in Kushimoto Town of Higashimuro County, Wakayama Prefecture. The “Ertuğrul Fırkateyni,” a wooden battle cruiser from the Ottoman Empire bearing a special envoy, sank in 1890 in the Kumano Sea, resulting in 587 deaths. Thanks to the generous rescue efforts of the locals, Japan and Turkey have enjoyed warm relations ever since. The building contains materials related to the sunken vessel as well as models, mementos from the sailors, and more. You can see the crash site from the observation deck on the second floor.

    If youre in the area make a visit to this museum. The museum itself is quite small, with some nice artefacts. The scenery/view from the balcony is great:the rocks are still visible, just like in...

  • Niutsuhime Shrine
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    4.5
    59 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkatsuragichou Kamiamano 230
    You’ll find this shrine along Prefectural Route 4 in Kamiamano, Katsuragi Town. Niutsuhime’s child is enshrined here, and it is said that Takanomiko, enshrined in the second hall, transformed into a hunter and led Kobo Daishi to Mt. Koya, who then borrowed Niutsuhime’s holy land to erect a shrine atop the mountain and teach the secrets of Shingon esoteric Buddhism. It is customary to worship here before ascending Mt. Koya.

    This is the obligatory stop for the travels up the Mt Koya. You pray and appease the local mountain deity. There are old cedar trees, and of course the bridge. The temple design is regular shinto.

  • Nyonindo
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    4.0
    61 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan 709
    This is a “sanrojo” (prayer space) near Fudozakaguchi, one of the seven gates of Mt. Koya. It used to house women who would visit the mountain to pray before 1872, when women weren’t allowed on the mountain. There used to be similar facilities at all the gates, but this is currently the only one that remains.

    Koyasan used to be a male only place and women were allowed only up to this temple near the entrance to the mountain. Of course that is no longer the case but this temple is a worthwhile place to...

  • Kudoyama Sanada Museum
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    4.0
    54 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkudoyamachou Kudoyama 1452-4
    A museum located in Kudoyama, Ito County, Wakayama Prefecture which opened in 2016 and which is dedicated to presenting the history of the Warring States period samurai Sanada Masayuki, his son Sanada Yukimura, and grandson Sanada Daisuke. Informational panels and videos present the life of Yukimura during his time in Kudoyama, the area where he spent the majority of his life. The museum also displays paintings and calligraphy by the three men as well as a folding screen which depicts Yukimura fighting in the summer campaign of the Siege of Osaka. In addition to a standing exhibition, the museum also holds special exhibitions irregularly.

    A nice arrangements of displays, mostly of information and illustrations on the wall with some artifacts from the past. No English brochure available but they had many of the wall displays with...

  • Mt. Koya
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan
    Mt. Koya is sacred ground in Japanese Buddhism that was first utilized by the famed monk Kukai in the Heian period. The entirety of Mt. Koya is regarded as a single temple—the Kongobu-ji Temple—and the mountain is dotted with temples in 117 locations. A veritable mountain-top mecca 900 meters above sea level, over 30 percent of the population of people living on the mountain are priests. Of particular note is the Danjogaran, a temple first built when Kukai opened his main dojo for his esoteric Shingon teachings. The temple grounds contain 19 buildings, including the Konpon Daito tower and gorgeous main sanctuary.
  • Torodo (Lantern Hall)
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    4.5
    43 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan 550
    "One of the Two Great Holy Sites of Mt. Koyasan, it was originally built as a hall of worship as a chapel of the mausoleum, and is located in front of the Gobyo (mausoleum) at ""Okuno-in"" where Kukai (Kobo Daishi) died while meditating. Inside, over 20,000 toro lanterns offered by worshipers hang bundled closely together. At the front on the inside, the Kishin lanterns devoted by Kishin shonin and the Shirakawa lanterns devoted by the Emperor Shirakawa have remained burning for over 1000 years as an ""unquenched flame."" In particular, the prayer lamp said to have been devoted by a girl called Oteru who sold her own hair for the Bodhi of her parents is also called ""the lantern of a poor girl."""

    Center of the cemetery and the domicile of Kukais spirit. Large hall lit up by Japanese lanterns. Before entering, you smack some of the incense powder on your hands and bow. Nice but you are not...

  • Tama Museum Kishi Station
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    4.0
    48 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kinokawa City Kishigawa-cho, Wakayama Prefecture
    "The terminal station of the Wakayama Electric Railway Kshigawa Line, it is looked after by the honorable permanent station master ""Tama"" who has become a daimyojin (god). Currently, calico cats (three-colored), ""Nitama (Tama II"" and ""Yontama (Tama IV)"" are in charge. The cute-looking catshaped station building is characterized by its great use of natural materials, such as Kishuwoods in the cypress bark roof. It also features ""Tama Cafe"" and ""Tama Shop"" where original goods are sold. The line is said to have been laid for ""Three-Shrine Visits"" to Nichizengu Shrine, Kamayama Shrine, and Itakiso Shrine sitting quietly aside the tracks. And there are unique trains, such as the ""Ichigo(Strawberry) Train"", the ""Omocha(Toys) Train"", and the ""Tama Train"", which have particular about the design of details. Overall, it's a fun local line to ride."

    Green tea and ice cream here are very good. In the shop, there are also souvenirs about cats for sale. Have quite a lot of seats, clean, comfortable

  • Kongo Sanmai-in
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    4.5
    45 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Wakayama Pref. Itogunkouyachou Kouyasan 425
    Hojo Masako ordered Kongo Sanmai-in to be built while in mourning for her husband, Minamoto no Yoritomo, and her son, Sanetomo. It is the site of numerous historical Cultural Properties of Japan and the temple is one of the core causes of Mt. Koya being registered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors will be overpowered by the lingering atmosphere of the Kamakura-period that resides in this place. It is five-minutes by cable car from the Nankai Railway Gokurakubashi Station.

    While it’s not necessarily in the itineraries of many of travel to Kansai for the first time, Koyasan is definitely worth a trip away from the giant tourist crowds at Osaka and Wakayama upon a repeat...

Wakayama Areas

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Wakayama prefecture unites pilgrims, food lovers, and culture buffs in a tranquil corner of Japan at the base of the Kii Peninsula. The setting for many a Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, Wakayama invites those in search of spirituality from one side of the prefecture to the other, from the 100-plus Buddhist temples of the sacred Mount Koya in the west to the inspiring temples of the Kumano Sanzan set among breathtaking nature in the east. Once the grueling hike is complete, make a beeline for Wakayama city to savor some of the country's most delicious ramen noodles.

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