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Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 9th century
Date of Inscription: 2004
Location: Asia, Japan, Mie, Nara and Wakayama Prefectures
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Description: Three sacred sites - Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan, and Koyasan – that are situated in the thick forests of the Kii Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean are connected by pilgrimage routes to the early capital cities of Nara and Kyoto. Together they display the union of Shinto, stemming from the ancient tradition of Japanese nature worship, and Buddhism, which was brought to Japan from China through the Korean peninsula. The 495.3-ha sites with their adjacent forest landscape indicate a relentless and extraordinarily well-documented custom of sacred mountains for over 1,200 years. The area’s abundance of streams, rivers and waterfalls is still an integral part of Japanese living culture; annually up to 15 million people visit the site for ritual purposes and hiking.Every one of the three sites holds shrines, some founded as early as the 9th century. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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