Oyunohara Otorii Gate, Wakayama Prefecture
Facts & Figures
Oyunohara, a sandbank at the confluence of the Otonashi and Kumano Rivers, was till 1889 the location of the Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine. It is still a very popular tourist spot with the largest Torii Gate (Otorii) in Japan (33.9m tall and 42m wide, built in 2000) at its entrance. Otorii means big gate and it is made out of steel with an weight of 172 tons. Since ancient times people believe this place has mystical power and Oyunohara was/is part of the pilgrimage to sacred Kumano Sanzan (three Grand Shrines of Kumano).
In 1889 a huge flood destroyed most of Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine. The remaining buildings were relocated to the top of a hill nearby (10min walk from Oyunohara). Two small stone shrines can still be found at Oyunohara. In 2000 Otorii was erected at the entrance of the sandbank. It took nearly 12 months to finish the construction.
Oyunohara is located in Tanabe in southern part of the Wakayama Prefecture.
Address: Hongu-cho Hougu, Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture
How to get to Oyunohara?
- 3hrs 10min from Nagoya Station to Shingu Station by JR Kansai and Kise Line or
- 4hrs from Shin-Osaka Station to Shingu Station by JR Hanwa and Kise Line and
- 1hr 20min from JR Shingu Station to Kumano Hongu Taisha mae by bus (once per hour)
Otorii - the gate will make you feel small, the largest Torii Gate in the world is an impressive sight
Kumano Hongu Taisha - is a Shinto Shrine and belongs to the three Kumano Sanzan shrines (Hayatama Taisha, Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha - Three Grand Shrines of Kumano) and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range - 1km away from Oyunohara
Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes - connects the other sacred UNESCO sites in the area - Koya-san, Hayatama Taisha, Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha
Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)
Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival (13th till 15th)
This traditional and spiritual festival is closely related with the pilgrimage to Kumano and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. On the 13th of April fathers carry their young sons, after a purification ceremony held at the sacred waters of Yunomine Onsen, on the shoulders and walking over the Dainichi-goe section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route to Oyunohara. Everyone is wearing traditional costumes, which makes this festival so beautiful. On the 15th of April a portable mikoshi shrine is temporarily housing the invoked Kumano Deities and carried to the original location of descend, Oyunohara sandbank. Enjoy this peaceful festival in the Kumano Mountains.
Yata-no-Hi Matsuri Fire Festival (last Sat. in August)
The festival is held in Oyunohara (Hongu-cho). It honours the Yatagarasu crow (three legged crow). Do not miss Taiko drum and dancing shows, great fireworks and the parading of a fire mikoshi (portable Shinto shrine).
Where to stay near Kumano Hongu Taisha?
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I have visited Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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