Two Buddhist temples, Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji are also closely associated with this sacred site. Originally, each of these three Grand Shrines had their own distinctive form of nature worship; later in the 10th century, they started to give worship to all of the three guardian deities at the same time under the influence of Buddhism. The trine deities of the Kumano Sanzan became a unique mixture of Shinto and Buddhism and were considered to be the strongest in Japan.
In the 11th century these Grand Shrines became a pilgrimage destination for the imperial family and aristocrats. By the late 15th century, the majority of pilgrims to Kumano were commoners. There were so many people visiting this area that it was referred to as “ant processions”. From prehistoric times until the present, the Kumano area was, and still is, considered a place of healing; a sacred, mystical abode of the gods.
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