The Kumano pilgrimages started more than one thousand years ago. In the first wave of pilgrimages, mostly nobles of the emperor’s court and retired emperors came to Kumano to pray for salvation, health, prosperity and other things. The second wave came in the peaceful years of the Edo ea. Now, we are experiencing a third wave since becoming a World Heritage Site in 2004.  The pilgrimage or journey itself was one of the ways to receive salvation. All people are welcome to come here ― young and old, sick, well, men, women and children. Religious background doesn’t matter. All religions or no religion are acceptable. In most religions, one must die in order to find salvation, but in the Kumano belief, you can attain salvation in this lifetime. On the way to the holy sites, all people no matter how high or low their station in life, had to walk. After completing the pilgrimage, other means of travel were acceptable.