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KUMANO KODO

The Kumano Kodō (熊野古道) is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the Kii Hantō, the largest Peninsula of Japan. These sacred trails were and are used for the pilgrimage to the sacred site “Kumano Sanzan” (熊野三山) or the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongū Taisha (熊野本宮大社), Kumano Nachi Taisha (熊野那智大社) and Kumano Hayatama Taisha (熊野速玉大社).

The Kumano Kodō pilgrimage routes that lead to Kumano can be categorized into three sub-routes: Kiji, Kohechi and Iseji. The Kumano Kodō and Kumano Sanzan, along with Koyasan and Yoshino and Omine, were registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites on July 7, 2004 as the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.” They are the only pilgrimage routes besides the Camino de Santiago to be designated a world heritage site.

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