Mt. Shichimen

A Mountain Pilgrimage through Ancient Forests and Villages, with Temple Lodgings Waiting

Embarking on a mountain pilgrimage is an extraordinary experience that takes you through ancient forests, picturesque villages, and introduces you to the spiritual essence of japan. One such pilgrimage that offers a profound journey is the Mt. Shichimen pilgrimage in Yamanashi prefecture. This multi-day adventure allows pilgrims to explore the beauty of nature, immerse themselves in traditional Japanese culture, and find solace in temple lodgings along the way. In this article, we will guide you through the various stages of this pilgrimage, provide essential information on how to get there, and offer recommendations for a truly unforgettable experience.

Stage 1: Minobu – Stepping towards Enlightenment:
The starting point of the Mt. Shichimen pilgrimage is Minobu, a charming town located in southern Yamanashi. As you arrive in Minobu, you will be greeted by the magnificent Minobusan Kuonji Temple, a significant landmark for Buddhist practitioners. To reach the temple, you must climb the 287 stone steps, each step representing a step towards enlightenment. This spiritual ascent sets the tone for the pilgrimage and prepares your mind and body for the journey ahead.

Stage 2: Akasawa – Exploring Ancient Inns and Waterfalls:
Leaving Minobu behind, the next destination on the pilgrimage is Akasawa Village. Walking along Akasawa’s narrow streets will transport you back in time, as you witness the dozen or so original inns that have stood the test of time. These inns offer a unique glimpse into traditional Japanese hospitality and provide a comfortable resting place for pilgrims. Along the way, you will encounter two magnificent waterfalls, adding to the natural beauty of the surroundings. These waterfalls serve as a reminder of the power and serenity of nature, further enhancing the pilgrimage experience.

Stage 3: Ascending Mt. Shichimen – A Spiritual Journey:
The pinnacle of the Mt. Shichimen pilgrimage is ascending the sacred mountain itself. Before embarking on this challenging ascent, it is customary to purify your body under one of the dramatic waterfalls near the mountain’s entrance. This ritual cleansing symbolizes the purification of the mind and soul, preparing you for the spiritual journey ahead. As you climb, you will encounter covered rest areas along the trail, providing a well-deserved respite for weary pilgrims. Finally, reaching the summit of Mt. Shichimen is a moment of triumph and spiritual fulfillment. Here, you will find the temple inn attached to Keishinin Temple, where you can spend the night and partake in the temple’s evening prayers. Additionally, witnessing the sunrise over Mt. Fuji from the summit is an awe-inspiring sight that will leave an indelible mark on your memory.

How to Get There:
Accessing Mt. Shichimen and its surrounding areas is relatively straightforward. Rail access can be obtained through JR Kofu Station, a crucial station on the line connecting Tokyo and Matsumoto. Alternatively, you can reach the area via JR Shizuoka Station on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Both these routes offer convenient options for travelers coming from various parts of Japan. Once you arrive at either station, local transportation options, such as buses or taxis, are available to take you to Minobu, the starting point of the pilgrimage.

For those planning to visit Mt. Minobu and Akasawa Village before ascending Mt. Shichimen, it is advisable to start early in the day. The first stage of the pilgrimage, from Minobu to Akasawa, should be attempted no later than noon to ensure you have enough daylight to complete the journey. If you are unable to reach Minobu early enough, staying at one of the temple inns near Minobusan Kuonji Temple is a convenient option. These temple inns provide comfortable accommodations and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere of the temple.

Recommended Itinerary:
To make the most of your pilgrimage experience, we recommend a two or three-day itinerary that allows ample time for exploration and reflection. Here is a suggested itinerary:

Day 1:
– Arrive at Minobu and visit Minobusan Kuonji Temple.
– Climb the 287 stone steps to gain a sense of spiritual enlightenment.
– Explore the ancient graveyards, temples, and shrines surrounding Mt. Minobu.
– Stay overnight at one of the temple inns near Minobusan Kuonji Temple.

Day 2:
– Begin your hike from the base of Mt. Minobu towards Akasawa Village.
– Enjoy the scenic beauty of Akasawa’s narrow streets and traditional inns.
– Visit the two magnificent waterfalls between Akasawa and the entrance to Mt. Shichimen.
– Spend the night at Osakaya Inn in Akasawa Village.

Day 3:
– Purify your body under one of the waterfalls near the entrance of Mt. Shichimen.
– Ascend Mt. Shichimen, stopping at covered rest areas along the trail.
– Reach the summit and stay at the temple inn attached to Keishinin Temple.
– Attend the temple’s evening prayers and witness the breathtaking sunrise over Mt. Fuji.

Embarking on the Mt. Shichimen pilgrimage is a transformative journey that allows you to connect with nature, immerse yourself in Japanese spirituality, and experience the warmth of traditional temple lodgings. The stages of this pilgrimage, from Minobu to Akasawa and finally ascending Mt. Shichimen, offer a diverse range of experiences that cater to both the adventurous and the spiritually inclined. As you traverse ancient forests, explore charming villages, and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, you will find solace and enlightenment in the footsteps of those who have walked this path before you. So, lace up your hiking boots, open your heart, and embark on a pilgrimage like no other.

Address And Maps Location:

Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi-ken

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