Yoshino is one of the centres of shugendo (mountain asceticism), and short of actually undertaking the hard, often life-threatening annual devotional ritual, you can participate in the morning prayers at Kinpusen Temple, which they do every morning and every evening, all year round. Imagine yourself kneeling on the floor of this large hall, only candles illuminating the darkness at half past six in the morning. The clanging bells echo, and the sound of the conch shells they blow before the prayers - unique to shugendo - transport you back several hundred years to another world. I lost myself in their sonorous chanting. It was one of the most magical experiences I had in Yoshino.
Best souvenirs here: a very stylish pink lotus-shaped keychain priced at JPY1000. Or, if you collect seal stamps (goshuin), the priests here can do three kinds in gorgeous calligraphy.
Standing high on top of Mt. Yoshino's ridge, Kinpusen-ji Temple was opened by En no Gyoja, the founder of Shugendo during the Asuka era. Rebuilt during the Adzuchi-momoyama era, the current shrine hall is the second biggest ancient wooden structure in the world, topped only by Todai-ji daibutsu-den (Great Buddha Hall of Todai-ji Temple).
Honzon statues enshrine the three Zao-gongen. Each of them has the height of approximately 7m, and are hidden Buddhist statues enshrined in the greatest Zushi (miniature shrine) in Japan. In order to raise money to repair the national treasure, Nio-mon gate, the honzon statues have had a fixed period of gokaicho (unveiling of Buddhist images) every year since 2012.
participate in the morning prayers / Admission : Free / Hours : 6: 30 - 7: 15
Kinpusen-ji Temple【World Heritage】
Accepting only Japanese
●Address/2498 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino
●Hours/8:30 - 16:30 (last admisson 16:00)
●Holidays/Open all year round
●Admission/Adults 500yen; high school & junior school students 400yen; elementary school students 300yen;
Special Admissions are excluded
◆Access/From Kintetsu Yoshino ropeway Yoshinoyama Station:- 15 minutes on foot from the station.
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