Two millennia of heritage along Wakayama’s Kumano Kodo trail; Katherine Whatley; The Japan Times

Japan – Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

The Kii Peninsula is a land of ancient spiritual paths and holy mountains. Until the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the peninsula was the site of the Kii Province. Now, a part of Wakayama Prefecture, the area is famous for onsen (hot springs), fish and produce like mikan (mandarin oranges) and ume (plums), and is home to temperate rainforests, mountains and a beautiful coastline. The prefecture is known as a place of rich cultural heritage, in part because of its connection to the Kii Province and the Kumano Kodo trail, but also because of the many traditional arts that are practiced there, including aikido, which was founded by Morihei Ueshiba in Wakayama.

For thousands of years, the Kii Peninsula was a site of worship for both Buddhism and Shintoism, thanks to shinbutsu shūgō, the pre-Meiji Era syncretic practice of the two beliefs. Though Shintoism and Buddhism are now separated into their present-day, distinct forms, the peninsula is considered to be holy by members of both religions.

Source: Two millennia of heritage along Wakayama’s Kumano Kodo trail | The Japan Times

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