Located in the southeastern part of the Kii Peninsula, Kumano Sanzan is far from the capital Kyoto and other regions, so three routes were developed according to the starting points.
The first one goes through the West coast of the Kii Peninsula and was written as "Kiji" in "Ryojinhisho" written in the 12th century. This route is divided into two on the way to "Nakahechi" which goes through the mountains and "Ohechi" which goes along the seacoast.
The second one is the route that goes through the East coast of the Kii Peninsula and was written as "Iseji". The third one is the route connects Koyasan and Kumano Sanzan and is called "Kohechi".
Pilgrimage to Kumano Sanzan began in the mid-Heian era and continued with developing zeal until the Muromachi era. Since so many people passed along this route on pilgrimages, and the pilgrims often formed a long line, it was described as an ant procession.
Pilgrimage routes to Kumano frequently used during the ancient times and medieval ages were continually used as the route for the West Pilgrimage including Kumano in the modern ages.