The southern part of Kumano faces the Kumano-nada Sea in the
Pacific Ocean. The Kumano sanzen-roppyaku-ho mountains (Kumano
3,600 peaks) and the deep blue ocean are said to represent the two ¡°faces¡± of
The ocean played an integral part in the development of Kumano as a religious
kingdom, forming the economic base. Both navigating to good fishing spots and
fishing itself requires exceptional boats and skills. At the same time,
strong physical and emotional strength is required. These attributes, as well
as Kumano¡¯s isolation, formed a foundation for the religious development.
Although the gods, believed to be the very responsive to worshippers, were
enshrined in Kumano, the religious prosperity of Kumano could not be ensured
unless the faith was propagated amongst people of other regions.
The enchantment of Kumano made people willingly to carve mountain routes, as
well as develop seashore routes, in order to reach Kumano. Kumano has never
stopped captivating people, and continues to attract visitors to this day.