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MOUNT HIKO 英彦山 

one of the top 3 pilgrimage mountains in Japan

Mount Hiko (highest elev. 1199m) is rooted with religious significance.  The 3 tallest summits are believed to be decendents of 3 deities.  Since 6th century, it was populated with monks worshipping the mountains.  The Shugendo, a sect that combines esoteric Buddhist and Shinto beliefs, prospered in the 12th century.  There were once 3800 Yamabushi monks trekking in the area with 49 cave shelters and 800 boarding houses. Followers believe in attaining enlightenment through worshipping the mountains and going through harsh physical and mental training in the wilderness. Mount Hiko is the sacred training ground for them. Experiencing environmental  changes and respecting the nature is key. 

Photo © Taketombo Corp.

HIKOSAN SHRINE & SHUGENDO RELIGION

Hikosan Shrine was first a training monastery for the Yamabushi monks of Shugendo religion (修験道), and later enshrining the god of agriculture. Shugendo combines beliefs of mountain-worshipping, Shintoism, Buddhism and various ideas from Taoism, Way of 5-Elements, Astrology and Pharmacology.

 

Followers train and learn to respect and co-existing with Nature, finding harmony with all essences in life.  If you are a fan of Mr. Hayao Miyazaki's anime, you will notice a lot of the characters and stories surround around this belief. 

For the disciplined

and determined. 

Mount Hiko, rich with religious history and traditions, is popular with local travelers.  As a historic training ground for the Yamabushi (the mountain worshippers), It has many hiking trails and steep terrains tailored to beginners and advanced trekkers. It is the most popular during Fall for beautiful foliage-viewing.  

The main pilgrimage route leading to the Hikosan Shrine has a staircase of over 800 treads. Climb it to prove your determination!  

The surrounding area of Mount Hiko has been a major agriculture zone in Japan for centuries.  About 12 km from the Shrine is a small agricultural village named Soeda with a population of about 9900. The iconic folk craft of Hikosan Gara Gara is solely produced at Soeda.  These humble yet beautiful clay bells has been guarding the villagers and the shrine.

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