For over 1,000 years, Japanese people from all walks of life, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the arduous pilgrimage of Wakayama. The Kumano Kodo is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that traverse the Kii Peninsula in southern Wakayama Prefecture. These sacred paths have become Created to serve as pilgrimage routes to enter the sacred Kumano Sanzan area, which includes the three great shrines of Kumano Hongū Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha. In July 2004, the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes were established as part of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are 4 main routes in total: The Nakahechi Route is the most popular route. From the 10th century onwards, the Nakahechi route was used extensively by the imperial family on pilgrimages from Kyoto. The Kohechi route connects the Buddhist temple complex of Koyasan and Kumano-Sanzan. Hikers should be well prepared if they want to take this route. The Ohechi Route offers picturesque views over the Pacific, while the Iseji Route features a variety of mountain passes, bamboo forests, terraced rice fields and beaches.