Hiking, Out Of The Box, Temples-Shrines — April 28, 2015 at 8:36 PM

Hiking Mt.Tennōzan in Yamazaki Town,Kyoto.

by
The large torii of Sakatoke jinja (酒解神社) at the Hatatate Look-out spot on the trail leading to the top of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

The large torii of Sakatoke jinja (酒解神社) at the Hatatate Look-out spot on the trail leading to the top of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

Exploring Mt.Tennōzan and Yamazaki Town:

Today, (Saturday April 24th), was such a fine spring day here in Kyoto, I decided to cycle to Yamazaki town at the base of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Kyoto Prefecture. Mt.Tennōzan and surrounding area are steeped in Japanese history, most notably the Battle of Yamazaki (山崎の戦い) in 1582. In the “Honnō-ji IncidentAkechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀), a retainer of Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長), attacked Nobunaga as he rested in Honnō-ji (本能寺), and forced him to commit seppuku. Mitsuhide then took over Nobunaga’s power and authority around the Kyoto area. Thirteen days later, Toyotomi Hideyoshi met Mitsuhide at Yamazaki and defeated him, avenging his lord (Nobunaga) and taking Nobunaga’s authority and power for himself.
Some of the trails are a bit steep and you need some good shoes, that is if you want to scale Mt.Tennōzan.

Rikyu Hachiman-gū:

The Chūmon (中門) gate of Rikyu Hachiman-gū (離宮八幡宮) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

The Chūmon (中門) gate of Rikyu Hachiman-gū (離宮八幡宮) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

The first place I visited was Rikyu Hachiman-gū (離宮八幡宮) shrine just a few steps from the JR Yamazaki station. According to Yamazaki’s official website this place was once the imperial villa of Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇,October 10, 786 – August 24, 842). In this area processing of oil for burning lamps and stoves was invented, which brought much wealth to this shrine and area. It was founded in 859.

Sekidai Myōjin:

Sekidai Myōjin (関大明神社) is located to your left from the station on the road leading to the “Suntory Yamazaki Distillery (サントリー貯蔵庫)”. A long time ago, this shrine at the base of Mt.Tennōzan, and on a major road between Osaka and Kyoto, was something like today’s toll booth. There was also a bridge across the river.
After parking my bike at the station and visiting the info booth to ask for a map of the area, I set of towards the hiking trail to Mt.Tennōzan. Yes, they have an English map detailing the different spots to see before you reach the summit of Mt.Tennōzan.

The Sekidai Myōjin (関大明神社) at the base of Mt.Tennōzan, and on a major road between Osaka and Kyoto, was something like today’s toll booth.

The Sekidai Myōjin (関大明神社) at the base of Mt.Tennōzan, and on a major road between Osaka and Kyoto, was something like today’s toll booth.

Dainen-ji Temple on Mt.Tennōzan:

After crossing the railroad on your left, is a large wooden house, it’s called the Chōchikukyo (聴竹居) residence and was designed by Fujii Koji (藤井厚ニ) an architect during the Showa and Taisho era. The road is already quite steep and in the distance you can see the steps that lead to the Dainen-ji Temple (大念寺). It’s a quiet place with few visitors. There is a small garden, on your right, as you enter the temple with a little pond and seasonal flowers.

Hōshaku-ji Temple:

If you trace your steps back a little you can take the road that leads to the “Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum Of Art”. There is a bus from JR Yamazaki station that goes there for those that have difficulty walking or just want to take it easy. I didn’t enter this magnificent garden and museum as I wanted to climb to the top of Mt.Tennōzan first. Going around the Oyamazaki Villa Museum Of Art, I arrived at the Hōshaku-ji Temple (宝積寺-宝寺). It’s a fairly large temple complex, the Three-Story Pagoda (三重塔) an unmistakable landmark. According to legend the pagoda was built for Hashiba Hideyoshi’s (known better as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) victory over Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀) in the Battle of Yamazaki (山崎の戦い) in 1582. The Enmadō (閻魔堂) with the wooden sculptures of “King Enma (閻魔) and his attending kings and officials” is a must see. They are the oldest statues of their kind and date back to the beginning of the Kamakura period, in the 13th century. The Hōshaku-ji Temple on Mt.Tennōzan was established more than 1200 years ago by the monk Gyōki (行基-668–749). In another hall of this temple is a large boat with the seven lucky gods as the main object of worship. A popular lucky charm is a small-sized “Uchide-no-Kozuchi (打ち出の小槌)”. Uchide-no-Kozuchi is a legendary “magic hammer” which can “tap out” anything wished for.
There are many maple trees in its vicinity and a cherry tree in front of the Enmadō.

Following the trail to Mt.Tennōzan:  See All Pictures Here!

Three-Story Pagoda (三重塔) of Hōshaku-ji Temple (宝積寺-宝寺) on Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki city, Kyoto-fu. It was built for Hashiba Hideyoshi's (known better as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) victory over Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀) in the Battle of Yamazaki (山崎の戦い) in 1582.

Three-Story Pagoda (三重塔) of Hōshaku-ji Temple (宝積寺-宝寺) on Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki city, Kyoto-fu. It was built for Hashiba Hideyoshi’s (known better as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) victory over Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀) in the Battle of Yamazaki (山崎の戦い) in 1582.

The trail becomes quite steep in parts and although there are some steps carved out, it’s not an easy climb though. The rewards are high as you reach the Aoki Badani Look-out (青木葉谷展望台) area. There are a few benches and a mural of the Battle of Yamazaki (山崎の戦い) in 1582 depicting Hideyoshi’s return from the battle field of Okayama.
Next-up is the Hatatate pine-observatory (旗立松・展望台) with a panoramic view of the battle field where the armies of Hideyoshi Hashiba and Mitssuhide Akechi clashed in 1582. This is also the entrance to the Sakatoke jinja (酒解神社) the oldest shrine in Yamazaki marked by a large torii.
As you get closer to the summit of Mt.Tennōzan, you’ll see on your left the Tomb of Seventeen Martyrs (十七烈士の墓).
A little further up the trail to Mt.Tennōzan is the Sakatoke jinja (酒解神社). The main hall of the shrine is under renovation and has a large blue tarp covering its grounds. Sure looks old and one of the buildings is used to hold mikoshi.

Mt.Tennōzan Summit:

Finally I reached the top, there is no look-out here just a mark with the Mt.Tennōzan inscription and its height of 270 meters. There are no remnants of the castle that once stood here, although if you loo closely there is a small fenced of area covered with bamboo. That used to be a well, supplying water to the inhabitants of the castle. A little further are some buddhist Jizō Bosatsu statues in a wooded area. The chirping of birds is the only sound around.

Yamazaki Shōten on Mt.Tennōzan:

Along the way are many murals depicting the Historic Battle of “Yamazaki Kassen-山崎合戦”. The scene of the camps right before the battle seen from the North. Hideyoshi’s and his soldiers on the right, Mitsuhide and his soldiers on the left.

Along the way are many murals depicting the Historic Battle of “Yamazaki Kassen-山崎合戦”. The scene of the camps right before the battle seen from the North. Hideyoshi’s and his soldiers on the right, Mitsuhide and his soldiers on the left.

Small shinto shrine just before the Sakatoke jinja (酒解神社) on the trail leading to the top of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

Small shinto shrine just before the Sakatoke jinja (酒解神社) on the trail leading to the top of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

The path leading down to the Yamazaki Shōten (山崎聖天) Temple, also known as Kannon-ji is very steep and challenging. Through a small gate I entered the Yamazaki Shōten temple. I was quite surprised by the enormity of the grounds, didn’t expect that. The temple grounds have many halls amongst them the Hondō (本堂), Shōdendō (聖天堂) and Kōmeiden (光明殿) important cultural properties. There is a small Wisteria trellis that was in full bloom when I was there. Making my way back to the JR Yamazaki station, I passed through the Niōmon gate (仁王門). Two fierce looking guardians are protecting the temple from evil. Steeps steps brought me back to the base of Mt.Tennōzan and the small Hachiman Shrine (八幡神社) that stands at its entrance.

Musings on Mt.Tennōzan:

Shōden-dō -L-(聖天堂) and Hondō -R-(本堂) of Yamazaki Shōten (山崎聖天) on Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

Shōden-dō -L-(聖天堂) and Hondō -R-(本堂) of Yamazaki Shōten (山崎聖天) on Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki town, Kyoto-fu.

It was a nice experience, the weather was excellent and although the sakura season had ended here in Kyoto, on the Mt.Tennōzan there were still some trees in bloom, the path was covered with pink petals, birds where chirping, the maple trees had a rich deep green colour, what more can you wish for. It was my first time to this area of Kyoto and I want to go back several more times. And I hope I persuaded you to consider this as one of your spots to discover in your next visit to Kyoto.

The massive Niomon gate (仁王門) of Kannon-ji (山崎聖天) on the slopes of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamasaki, Kyoto-fu. You have to climb some steep steps to get there. Niō (仁王), are two wrath-filled and muscular guardians of the Buddha, standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples all across Asia including China, Japan and Korea in the form of frightening wrestler-like statues.

The massive Niomon gate (仁王門) of Kannon-ji (山崎聖天) on the slopes of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamasaki, Kyoto-fu. You have to climb some steep steps to get there. Niō (仁王), are two wrath-filled and muscular guardians of the Buddha, standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples all across Asia including China, Japan and Korea in the form of frightening wrestler-like statues.

Wisteria trellis in the precincts of Kannon-ji (山崎聖天) on Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki city, Kyoto-fu.

Wisteria trellis in the precincts of Kannon-ji (山崎聖天) on Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) in Yamazaki city, Kyoto-fu.

Map of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) and the hiking trail. You can obtain this map at the info booth inside JR Yamazaki station.

Map of Mt.Tennōzan (天王山) and the hiking trail. You can obtain this map at the info booth inside JR Yamazaki station.


Would love to hear from you....