The last shrine I visited during my January 2011 Kumano visit (in Wakayama Prefecture) was Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine, one of the three major shrines in Kumano. Snow was falling in on this day.
Kumano is a holy place for people who seek the Pure Land (Gokuraku Jodo in Japanese). Kumano is also called 'A Place for Resurrection'. When I was climbing the 158 stone steps to the shrine decorated with banners of 'Kumano Gongen (God of Kumano)' on both sides, and saw the Shinmon (God's Gate) in the falling snow, I felt like I was approaching a sacred area where God resides. In ancient times, Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine was the center of what would today be called a 'power spot'.
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I was born in and grew up in Tokushima prefecture, and have lived in many places since then: Nishinomiya, Kyoto, Nara, Mie, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Fukuoka and Fukui. I am currently living in Yokohama City. All the places I lived, all the places I visited, I have loved dearly. The historical places where people lived, loved, suffered, and fought - places where I can still hear their heartbeats - mesmerize me. I'd like to retrace the footsteps of the people who lived in Japan a long long time ago, and introduce to you what they left behind on this soil.