Kumano has a long history as a pilgrimage destination and as a result there are many legends and stories that have been passed down including the legend of Jofuku.
Jofuku was a Taoist shaman to the Emperor Shikoutei of the Xin Dynasty in China about 2200 years ago. He was ordered by the emperor to set out in order to ‘find the elixir of eternal life which is said to be on the mountain of Horai on the sea to the east’. He eventually arrived in Kumano and with him he brought about 3000 people, men, women, and children. Unfortunately for the emperor he was enamoured by Kumano and never returned to China. The picture here shows the time of their landing. Jofuku is in the middle of the front row and behind him you can see a lot of the children who came with him.
The Heike Monogatari is another famous story where Kumano features strongly.
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To explore more stories about Kumano you may also visit: http://kumano-world.org