Since the Heian period, the destination of all Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails is one place: Hongu. Located deep in the mountains, Hongu hosts UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine and the Kumano River. Originally, the shrine was located on a sandbank in the Kumano River but after a massive flooding in 1898 its main structures were relocated to their current position on a hill in the heart of Hongu Town. A 34 meter tall torii gate, one of Japan's largest sacred gates, cherishes the initial location of the shrine, a place that is called Oyunohara. Not far from these two areas, up in the mountains, there is a nice observatory where visitors can enjoy a memorable panoramic view of Hongu, the Kumano River and the surrounding mountains.
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