Shingu lies on the southern end of the Kii Peninsula, south of Kyoto and Osaka. It has a warm climate and encompasses both coastal and mountain regions, with many rivers as well, making it a region rich in natural beauty.
The region surrounding Shingu was once called Kumano. The main river flowing through Shingu is the Kumano-gawa River, and the ocean off the city's coast is called the Kumano-nada Sea.
Shingu is the traditional home of the Kumano faith, which is rooted in the worship of nature and has been followed and passed down for centuries. The Kumano Sanzan (the faith's three Grand Shrines) and the Kumano Kodo (the pilgrimage routes that people have taken since ancient times to travel to the shrines) were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 under the name “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.”
In Shingu, world heritage sites such as Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine, Kamikura-Jinja Shrine, and Asuka-Jinja Shrine are facets of daily life. Visit and be enchanted by the way the ancient and the sacred exist alongside the modern, everyday aspects of the city.
Shingu is an ancient city that first appeared as a place name in the 8th century in the book Kumano Kannomura. It is said that around 2200 years ago, Jofuku, a Chinese wise man who served the First Qin Emperor of China, came to Shingu after being ordered to search for the elixir of life.
The Kumano Sanzan were important, sacred places to the Japanese imperial court. In the 9th-12th centuries, stewards were appointed to oversee them. From the Heian period to the Kamakura period, the retired Emperor and the aristocracy made the Kumano Mode pilgrimage, visiting the area to pray at the three Grand Shrines. Shingu, where the Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine is located, prospered as a result of the pilgrimage's popularity.
Starting at the beginning of the Edo Period, whaling became common in Shingu, and a series of stories related to the whaling culture of the area, Kujira to Tomo ni Ikiru, or Life with Whales, was recognized by the Agency of Cultural Affairs and registered as a Japan Heritage site in 2016. In the Meiji Period, Shingu was well known for production of cedar and cypress lumber. As the largest city in Kumano, the city was the cultural center of the area, and is the birthplace of several modern writers and intellectuals, including Haruo Sato and Isaku Nishimura.
Poet who wrote many lyric poems. Born in Shingu as the heir of the medical clinic lasted nine generations. His old house has been relocated and opened as "Sato Haruo Memorial Hall" in the city.
Founder of Bunka Gakuin. His home (now known as Former Nishimura Residence) completed in 1914 had become a salon for poets such as Akiko Yosano etc. to gather.
Children's song writer. Graduated from Tokyo music school in 1896. After becoming a music teacher, she created works such as children's song "Dove Poppo" with a composer Rentaro Taki.
Novelist who started a voluntary lecture, "Kumano University". He won the Akutagawa Prize (authoritative literary rookie prize in Japan) in 1976 by the work "Cape" that wrote on his vision of the world set in Shingu's "alley".