The sacred place on the top Mount Oyama
Located on the border of Isehara, Hadano, and Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture, the 1252-meter-high Mount Oyama is a place where you can go to experience the rich history and religious culture of the Edo period. Let's visit the two most sacred temples, namely Oyama-dera and Oyama-Afuri, which are located on the top of the mountain, with me through this article!
Mount Oyama - Where ancient beliefs are preserved
Since ancient times, Mount Oyama has been a favored place for worship and excursions for Japanese people. This place is famous for its beautiful natural scenery and also attracts many pilgrims from all over the country.
Upon coming here on a beautiful autumn day, I could sense the fresh air and the gentle breeze blowing through each branch, all of which create a poetic natural scenery for this sacred place.
This place seems to possess different shades of beauty in each season, which is characterized by the color of the sky, the colors of the flowers and the majestic mountains, but I think it is the most gorgeous in autumn - when the red and yellow leaves are in full bloom and light up the entire sky.
Mount Oyama is believed to be able to grant people favorable weather and good crops; thus, many devotees regularly visit this place. As a result, in the Edo period, the pilgrimage to Mount Oyama became popular and became an indispensable walking activity for people who follow religions and love to travel.
This activity is described in some ukiyo-e paintings, one is which is "Oyama-mairi" (Oyama Pilgrimage), which is recognized as a Japanese Heritage.
We did not encounter any problem on the way here, since I carefully looked up the route and watched the weather forecast in advance. It only took about 30 minutes by bus from Isehara Station on the Odawara line of the Odakyu Electric Railway for us to arrive at the foot of the mountain.
Along the way up the mountain, I still caught sight of monuments and signs that serve as markers for the old Oyama road. It will take about 2 hours to climb from the foot to the top of the mountain if you go continuously without stopping.
Oyama-dera temple and Oyama-Afuri Shrine
After climbing up the stairs step by step, Oyama-dera Temple, a monastery located on Mount Oyama, was there in front of me. We leisurely walked up the Onna-zaka hill from the Koma-sando walkway. Red maple trees were casting shadows on both sides of the stone steps leading to the main hall of the temple as if they were welcoming visitors.
For a moment, I thought I had just traveled back in time. My soul seemed to be immersed in the nostalgic and sacred atmosphere of this place.
Visitors, upon coming here, can also experience the activity of throwing terracotta objects called "Kawarake" to ward off disasters and pray for good luck.
This temple is famous for its statue of the Noble Immovable Lord. This statue, along with two accompanying Tongzi statues, was recognized as an important national cultural property.
On the top of the mountain, there is Afuri Shrine, which has been around for more than 2200 years and is recognized as a two-star tourist destination according to The Michelin Green Guide Japan.
From this height, I could have a panorama view of the beautiful Mount Oyama and feel the vitality of nature. The temple looks new and clean with red as the main color. On both sides of the temple, there are stone pillars with letters engraved on them.
This is not only a place to worship but also an outstanding place to admire the characteristic natural scenery in all four seasons, which you cannot miss!
According to my research, this temple worships the god of mountains, water, and even wine production, whose name is Oyama Matsumi no Okami. This place is also called Amefuri Yama - the mountain of rain. That is why, since ancient times, this place has become the place to perform the rain ceremony of the Japanese people.
Upon coming here, I felt like I have escaped from the bustling city and found a quiet place for my soul to feel pure and peaceful again.
After 3 hours of sightseeing and taking beautiful pictures, we decided to leave. This trip was truly a memorable experience as I had the chance to witness the autumn scenery on Mount Oyama and visited the famous temple and shrine.
What about you? Don't forget to visit this place when you come to Kanagawa!!!
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