Our private vehicle journey this morning brings us to Temple 20 Kakurin-ji or Crane Forest Temple on the 550 meter summit of Washigao. The temple’s Sando or main approach is surrounded by tall pine and Hinoki cypress trees. Under an edict of Emperor Kanmu, Kobo Daishi founded Kakurin-ji in 799. From here we head up to Temple 21 Tairyu-ji, temple of the Mystical Dragon, close to the mountain peak of the same name at 618 meters. Kobo Daishi practiced ascetic training here at his age of 19 and founded the temple in 793. Our walk ends with a cable car ride offering breathtaking views over a cedar forest and out towards the sea. We continue by vehicle to the central mountains. Tonight’s accommodation is in the wonderful hot-spring location of Iya Onsen, deep in a hidden valley.
Walking distance: 7.1km / 4.4 miles
Elevation gain: 460m / 1510 feet ascent; 470m / 1540 feet descent
Time required: 2.5 hours