Kumano Sanzan

The Kumano Sanzan encompasses the entire region on the southern tip of Wakayama Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. It is a mountainous area with deep valleys and rugged mountains. While most of the region is covered with virgins stands of broad leaf evergreens, areas here have been settled since time began in these islands of Japan.
The Kumano Sanzan is in the middle of the five pilgrimage
areas designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004 on the Kii Peninsula. It is a unique peninsular area encompassed by rugged mountains. The Chinese characters, 三(san) 山 (zan) is literally speaking, "three mountains." The three mountains which are set like jewels among the southern peaks of the Kii Mountains have been sacred areas in Japan from time immemorial. It is said that the Japanese gods of creationist mythology came here to create the Japanese islands from cosmic morass.

Pilgrimage routes became well established in the Heian era.