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Visit Kōyasan area of Kii Mountains, Japan (UNESCO site)

The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the Kii Peninsula in Japan. The locations and paths for this heritage site were based on their historical and modern importance in religious pilgrimages. It was also noted for its fusion of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs, and a well documented history of traditions over 1,200 years. Sections of the trails were included for this nomination, but not the full length of their expanses. A total of 242 elements were selected from sites and pilgrimage routes for nomination. The main features of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range incorporates three sacred sites across Nara, Wakayama and Mie prefectures: "Yoshino/Omine", "Kumano Sanzan", " Kōyasan" and the pilgrimage routes that connect them. Kōyasan is an unprecedented religious city on a mountain top where 117 temples are clustered. When combined with the surrounding steep mountain ridges and deep forests, it produces a cultural landscape related to faith. The most famous among them is the Kongobu-ji Temple built by Kukai in 816. Kukai was the founder of the Shingon Buddhist School. Koyasan is also known for its many temples where you are welcome to stay. In the Shukubo or temple lodging, you come in contact with true traditional Japanese culture that you cannot experience at any ordinary inn, such as participating in copying of the sutra and in religious services or eating the traditional vegetarian food of Buddhist monks, so it is becoming very popular among tourists from abroad. The ancient pilgrimage routes connecting these sites are locally called the Kumano Kodo and one of only two UNESCO World Heritage registered pilgrimage routes in the world, one other being the Santiago e Compostela. The coastal trails are gone, but the mountain trails are still visible. They are Nakahech, Ohechi, Iseji, Kohechi and Omine Okugake. Nakahechi is hilly, but it is easy to walk on. The trail culminates at Hongu Taisha. The Ohechi trail is barely visible now, but during the 15th century thousands of pilgrims crossed it. The Iseji trail joins the Ise Shrine to the Kumano. "Yoshino/Omine" and "Kumano Sanzan" are covered in related dreams.
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