Hayatama Taisha, or Hayatama Grand Shrine, also known as Hayatama Jinju is the NEW SHRINE from which Shingu, or SHIN GUU, gets its name. The original shrine is Kamikura Shrine and is where the annual Shingu Fire Festival, or Otou Matsuri is held each year on February 6th. Kumano Hayatama Grand Shrine began with a belief in the divinity of the nearby Gotobiki Rock at the Kamikura Shrine.
This slide show features the bright red painted structures that are said to indicate Chinese-Buddhist influence is quite a beautiful sight to behold in person.
Hayatama Taisha is one of the three Shinto Grand Shrines comprising what is called the Kumano Sanzan. The other two are Hongu Taisha and Nachi Taisha. All three shrines were damaged to one degree or another during the great Typhoon Talas which dumped torrential rains in the Kumano World Heritage for three days. The Kumano Sanzan was the reason for the famous Kumano Moude or Kumano Pilgrimage which came to prominence in the second half of the 11th century when emperors and aristocrats began visiting these grand shrines. This initiated one of the most prestigious periods of the Kumano as a major pilgrimage destination. After several retired emperors began visiting the area, it became somewhat fashionable soon people from all ranks in society, from the samurai class to the poor and destitute. It became known as the ‘Ants Pilgrimage’ due to the huge numbers coming and going from Kumano. The Kumano Sanzan and the Kumano Kodo (Kumano Old Road) leading to these grand shrines are unique and important historical and cultural assets. In 2004 Kumano received worldwide recognition as a world cultural asset by being registered as a World Heritage by UNESCO.