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Takaoyama, Temple Ruins, and the Best View of Hiroshima

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Takaoyama, Temple Ruins, and the Best View of Hiroshima

Takaoyama, Temple Ruins, and the Best View of Hiroshima(…in the author’s opinion)

Text by Gyan Kumar, photos by Phillip Holbek, July 2020

East of Hiroshima lies Takaoyama, or Mt. Takao, a 425m tall mountain. Takaoyama is peculiar in two ways: the first is that its top is barren, with many large boulders, thus offering the traveller a striking view not only of Hiroshima, but of all the surrounding region as well.

Near the summit of Mt. Takao lie the ruins of an old Buddhist temple, Iwatani temple, dedicated to Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion. Even if what remains of the temple is just a few foundations and rubble, at the summit of the mountain you can still find a statue of Kannon as wall as stone carvings, inscriptions, and paintings.

2The history of Iwatani temple goes back a whopping 700 years. One sunny day in ancient Japan a samurai from what is today Yamanashi prefecture (north of Mt. Fuji), Kondo Saburozaemon (yes, they had funky names back then), was net fishing in the region of Hiroshima. He felt he caught something and started pulling the net, but the catch was surprisingly heavy. With great effort he finally managed to drag the net out of the water, only to discover that he had caught a stone statue of Kannon. He believed this to be a holy sign, and in an act of faith he built Iwatani temple near the summit of Mt. Takao. What is surprising is that there still is an old flight of stone stairs leading up to the temple at over 300m of altitude, one can only imagine the labour it took to transport the building materials up the mountain.1

East of Hiroshima lies Takaoyama, or Mt. Takao, a 425m tall mountain. Takaoyama is peculiar in two ways: the first is that its top is barren, with many large boulders, thus offering the traveller a striking view not only of Hiroshima, but of all the surrounding region as well.

Near the summit of Mt. Takao lie the ruins of an old Buddhist temple, Iwatani temple, dedicated to Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion. Even if what remains of the temple is just a few foundations and rubble, at the summit of the mountain you can still find a statue of Kannon as wall as stone carvings, inscriptions, and paintings.

The history of Iwatani temple goes back a whopping 700 years. One sunny day in ancient Japan a samurai from what is today Yamanashi prefecture (north of Mt. Fuji), Kondo Saburozaemon (yes, they had funky names back then), was net fishing in the region of Hiroshima. He felt he caught something and started pulling the net, but the catch was surprisingly heavy. With great effort he finally managed to drag the net out of the water, only to discover that he had caught a stone statue of Kannon. He believed this to be a holy sign, and in an act of faith he built Iwatani temple near the summit of Mt. Takao. What is surprising is that there still is an old flight of stone stairs leading up to the temple at over 300m of altitude, one can only imagine the labour it took to transport the building materials up the mountain.

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Author

THE EVERGREEN HOSTELのオーナー・はづきです。 The owner of THE EVERGREEN HOSTEL.Thank you for reading our blog.