Kumano Travel Guide

Kumano is an area in Mie Prefecture’s southern area that includes Kumano City and Owase City.

Kumano City’s population is around 20,000 people. Kumano is an area that is blessed by nature, with the specialties of the region being a citrus fruit called “niihime” and also Pacific saury fish.

The coastal Kumano area faces the Pacific Ocean, and this region also contains the longest sandy beach in Japan, the 22km-long Shichiri-Mihama Beach. The Kumano region is also part of the Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage Route, and on the coast is Hana-no-Iwaya-jinja Shrine, said to be Japan’s oldest temple. Every year in August the Kumano Fireworks Festival is held where over 10,000 fireworks light up the summer night sky.

You may be wondering about the Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage Route: this is an old highway that totals 170km in length, connecting the Ise Jingu with the “Kumano Sanzan” (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and the Kumano Nachi Taisha.) This road has a long history behind it—it’s been a religious road ever since the Edo Period. In 2004 it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and now even people come from outside Japan to enjoy trekking the long road.

The Kumano Kodo Iseji Pilgrimage Route has numerous courses and attractions to see along its length, so you should have a set starting point and goal point in mind. The only method of transportation permitted on the route is walking, so it’s important you know the limits of your own stamina. Don’t overexert yourself, and plan out your course so that you return safely while the sun is still up, because it gets very dark at night.

You can access Kumano City via trains or buses from the neighboring cities of Nagoya or Osaka.

Tourism information: Kumano

Map: Kumano