About the Kumano Kodo Iseji
World Heritage Site: The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range Kumano Kodo Iseji Trail
In 2004, the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This consists of 3 sacred sites (Kumano Sanzan, Yoshino and Omine, and Koyasan), as well as the trails connecting them (the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trails, the Omine Okugakemichi Trail, and the Koyasan Choishi-michi Trail). The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trails are a network of trails providing access to pilgrims who wished to visit the Kumano Sanzan, or the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha). There were a few routes connecting the Kumano area to Ise, Yoshino, Koyasan, and Kyoto, but the most famous ones were the Kii Route that ran westwards around the Kii Peninsula, and the Iseji Route that ran eastwards. The Iseji Route was a trail filled with steep mountain ridges that travellers from Ise Grand Shrine and pilgrims taking on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage had to cross in order to reach the holy site of Kumano.