Status: A part of both UNESCO World Cultural Heritage: Mount Fuji and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. National Monument
When you request for visiting Shiraito Waterfall one of the major scenic sights in Japan, Japanese tour operators may make faces just as if you asked the wrong question. Because of 2011 Earthquake and a number of effort to eliminate anything that hinder the great sights, construction works has been under way and it will not finish until December 2013. You can currently see the waterfall from the distance, but it is not the best shot.
The waterfall with white streaks of water seeping down from the chasms of volcanic rock has been one of the sights which represents the beauty of Japan. The reason why the waterfall became a part of World Cultural Heritage is that this place used to be one of the sites practitioners of Mount Fuji Shugendo(fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism) used for purification and training.
Status: A part of World Cultural Heritage: Mount Fuji, A part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Otodome Waterfall is the first great sight to see when you visit Shiraito Waterfall. It is only a few minutes away from Shiraito Waterfall. The waterfall is 5 meters in width and 25 meters in height. The name comes from the legend of Soga Brothers the heroes in Kamakura period in late 12th century who achieved honorary vengeance, Adauchi, for their father by assassinating Suketsune Kudo who was responsible for their father's death. When they were plotting for vengeance the sound of the waterfall was too loud to talk to each other, they prayed for the rock they are hidden and the sound of the waterfall stopped for a while. Japanese old timers are versed in Soga brothers tear-jerk story but younger generation born after 1960s have little idea on Soga brother story.
Fujinomiya trail is the second most popular trails to the summit of Mount Fuji. It is the only trail from the south side of the Mount Fuji but today only the shortest trail from Fifth station(Gogome) remains because you can get to the fifth station by using private cars. Old trails leading up to fifth station is exclusive to experienced hikers accompanied with Murayama trail guide. At sixth station the trail parts with the route to Hoei Crater. The highest point of Fujinomiya trail is Komagatake peak, 3716 m in elevation and is close to Sengen Taisha Okumiya Shrine, the uppermost shrine of Fujinomiya Sengen Taisha Shrine. It takes about five hours from fifth station to the Sengen Taisha Okumiya Shrine.
Hoei Crater Walk is an hour and a half walk to view the Hoei craters, the site Mount Fuji's last eruption in 1707. The hike is often picked during October for the great autumn leaves but it is occasionally picked for warm-up hike before the body adapts to the altitude. First go up to sixth station about 2,500 meters in altitude and go sideways and you will see a huge craters of Mount Hoei, 2,693 meters in elevation. At the topmost area of the peak you will see light brown area. They are erupted materials from Komitake Volcano active about 100,000 years ago. There are three craters of Hoei eruption #1, #2, #3 from the top. While seeing the craters on the your left side climb down the unstable gravel downtrail for five minutes and you will find the trail back to Fifth station leading to the woods near the forest line of Mount Fuji. It takes about thirty to forty minutes from the direction sign to the Fifth station parking area.
Status: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage: A part of Mount Fuji, Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art
Most of Shinto shrines in Japan are built with Prayer(Worship) Hall and Main Hall as you may see in Izumo
Grand Shrine in Shimane. Yamamiya Sengen Shrine on the south side of Mount Fuji about 390 meters above sea level retains the ancient Shinto style when Mountain peak itself was the object of worship. Entrance part of the shrine looks ordinary. You see the Torii and Gate building, Kagoya, used for the lodging for the festival partcipants. Both were constructed after Meiji Restoration(1868) but when you walk over the gate you will be led into ancient place there is nothing but stones used to rest the halberd during the defunct biannual festivals between Yamamiya Shrine and Sengen Taisha Shrine about five kilometers south of the shrine.
According to the record of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine, which is also a part of Mount Fuji World Cultural Heritage, Yamamiya Sengen Shrine is the original and the first Sengen Shrine built in Japan dating back as far as 4th to 5th century when Prince Yamatotakeru built the altar to show gratitude to Mount Fuji for giving power to conquer Yamato Government's enemies on the eastern front. Hundred years prior to that it is said that altar was set up to appease the eruption of Mount Fuji about 2,000 years ago. Current Yamamiya Sengen Shrine was built over the altar place of Prince Yamatotakeru. After the Sengen Shrine was moved to the place six kilometer northwest of this shrine both shrine maintain close relationship and Sengen Taisha Shrine recognized this shrine as upper shrine for the main shrine.
Archaeologists speculate that this shrine was built to appease Mount Fuji eruption because the shrine altar is located at the tip of the lava flow about 2,000 years ago.
Currently the exact route used for Yamamiya Shinko festival moving sacred halberd from Yamamiya to Sengen Taisha shrine are not yet specified and only some monuments remain.
Status: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage: A component site of Mount Fuji: Hitoana Fuji-ko Iseki
Hitoana is a lava tube located at the west flank of Mount Fuji about 700 meters above sea level. It was in this cave that Kakugyo, the founder of Fuji Pilgrimmage movement, Fuji-ko, trained inside the cave and achieved Nirvana(passed away). Since then the cave has been the object of worship for hundreds of years and arrays of monuments erected by Fuji-ko pilgrims around the cave has been approved as a part of newly designated World Cultural Heritage: Mount Fuji: Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art in June 2013. Hitoana area is a good place to see both Mount Fuji on the east and Mount Kenashi on the northwest.
Mount Amagatake located between Fujinomiya and Yamanashi Prefecture is 1772 meters in elevation. The mountain is noted for the great view of Mount Fuji. There are two major routes to this mountain peak. From Fujinomiya it is often visited after climbing Mount Kenashi but limited to Fumoto area campers or climbers using private cars because it takes about six hours to finish. Tokyo hikers often pick the trails by way of Mount Ryugatake from Lake Motosu.
The museum made up of exhibits of strangely-shaped stones(kiseki) is located about 3 kilometer northwest of Murayama Sengen Shrine. Since Murayama Sengen Shrine became a part of World Cultural Heritage as a component site of Mount Fuji: Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art, the number of visitors to this unique museum also soared. The exhibits of the museum can be divided into three categories, the fossils, mineral stones and gemstones. You can have English-language booklet for 500 yen to gain the info about major exhibits.
Mount Kenashi, 1,964m(6,444ft) in elevation, is the second highest mountain peak in Fujinomiya city noted for the great view of Mount Fuji. It takes about 4 hours to the top from the start of the climb called FUMOTO but it is not easy to reach by using public transportation. It is one of the 200 best mountains in Japan.
Alternate Names: Murayama Sengen Jinja
Status: UNESCO World Heritage Candidate site
Located at the south flank of Mount Fuji, about 500 meters above sea level, the shrine recognized as one of the Fujiko Pilgrimmage sites, also shows the historical fact that Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples often coexisted as the shugendo (fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism) religious place. After Meiji Government's order to separate Shintoism to Buddhism in late 19th century, the place had to be divided with Shinto area(current Shrine) and Buddhist area (Dainichido (Mahavairocana Buddha Hall) the only remaining building of Kohoji Temple). The place is best known for Mount Fuji Opening Festival on July 1 when Shugendo practitioners from Kyoto perform the ritual called "Goma (Homa in Sanscrit language)". When this place was used as the entry point of Mount Fuji climbing this ritual as well as purification ritual were practiced before Shugendo ascetics started climbing. Today both rituals are performed only on July 1 the opening day of Mount Fuji climbing.
Alternate Names: Fujinomiya Sengen Taisha Shrine
Status: UNESCO World Heitage Candidate
Today most of Mount Fuji climbers start their hike from Gogome(Fifth Station) of each of the Mount Fuji Trail. More than 100 years ago, however, Climbing Mount Fuji is purely for pilgrimmage. These pilgrims started from the Tokaido Highway to the mountaintop 3,776 meters(12,389 feet) above sea level. Mount Fuji pilgrims used to stop by Fujinomiya Sengen Taisha Shrine to purify their bodies before climbing Mount Fuji.
Moved to the present place during early 9th century, the shrine is the head shrine of 1,300 Asama(Sengen) shrines in Japan. The biggest draw is the two-storied Main Hall designated as Important Cultural Property by Japanese Government. Its unique architectural structure is coined as Sengen-Zukuri. (Sengen Style). The shrine has a pond called Wakutama-ike Pond which used to be the purification site for pilgrims.
The treasure house at Taisekiji Temple is only open to believers. I am not a member of the religion, but I was able to enter. One of the main focuses of the exhibit is that of propagation, so there are a lot of pictures of people from other countries who they have converted to Nichiren Buddhism. They also have small displays for each country with small knick-knacks from that country inside a case to showcase the growth of their faith.
Concerning their actual treasures, there are some paintings and other artifacts, but they don't seem to actually have much, which is good news for non-believers who can't enter.
Taisekiji Temple is the head temple of Nichiren Shoshu, a sect of Buddhism. It was founded in 1290 by Nikko, a disciple of Nichiren. The complex features many buildings, a small garden, and beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring.
Some of the temple buildings are only open to believers. They also have accommodations only for believers. Do NOT attempt to enter the hoando (main temple building) if you do not belong to this faith; all who enter must be believers, and those who are not are to be converted right there.
It is free to roam the temple grounds.
Myorenji is a small temple that, like Taisekiji, is connected to Nichiren Shoshu. It was first built in 1324. Outside the temple there are many cherry blossoms, and there is also a great view of Mount Fuji from the fields.
The temple is located on the lower slopes of Mt Fuji in the city of FUJINOMIYA....It was founded in 1290 by a Monk called NIKKO who was one of Nichiren's Immediate disciples...
It stared with one small temple building built by NIKKO but thru out the years more and more building where added by NIKKO'S disciples....
HISTORY OF TAISEKIJI
Nichiren Shonin, the founder of the Nichiren Shu was born on February 16, 1222 n. At age 11, his parents sent him to Seichoji-Temple to study. From an early age, he began to wonder why there were so many schools of Buddhism, while the Buddhism expounded by Sakyamuni Buddha was but one?
He was ordained a priest at Seichoji Temple at the young age of 15. After considerable study of the Buddhist schools, Nichiren Shonin concluded that the Lotus Sutra indeed represented the perfect culmination of the true teaching of the Buddha.
EVEN THE CLOUDS OF SADNESS THAT SPREAD OVER ME WOULD BE BLOWN CLEAR AWAY BY THE WINDS OF MT. EAGLE FILLED WITH THE SOUNDS OF THE LOTUS SUTRA. -- by Nichiren Shonin Tachi Wataru