Study of the Space Structure of Kumano Pilgrimage Route Iseji

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  • 熊野参詣道伊勢路における巡礼空間の装置性
  • クマノ サンケイドウ イセロ ニ オケル ジュンレイ クウカン ノ ソウチセイ

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Abstract

<p>A pilgrimage route is the spatial route that a pilgrim travels, from the point of departure to the sacred destination. The Iseji pilgrimage route in Kumano can be described as a typical one. It has connected Ise and Kumano for over a thousand years, until the middle of the 19th century, and parts of this route are inscribed on the World Heritage list. This study aims to identify and describe the characteristics of the space structure of the Iseji pilgrimage route in Kumano, using literature analysis, geographical research and archaeological surveys as research methods. The results of these analysis show that there were temples and sights established along the pilgrimage route which supported pilgrims on their travel. Temples related to the sacred destinations, placed at appropriate distances, indicated the right way to the destination, and served as a verification for the travellers’ position as pilgrims. Sights were arranged around the flat section of the route where the walk easily got boring for the pilgrims. The sights were not directly related to the sacred destinations, but they all had specific meanings with basis in the local environment, such as flourishing town, old famous travellers, and ghost stories about demons. In addition to that, they were related to a world separate from that of daily life, in other words, they constituted a landscape of meaning, which enabled the pilgrims to assess the progress of their pilgrimage journey.</p>

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