- 3 min read

Mt. Kyogamori

A mountain with amazing views of Matsuyama

Taisan-ji is one of the 88 Shikoku Pilgrimage temples. Behind it is a path to a little mountain with the most amazing views over Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Sea. The path is neither obvious nor particularly inviting at the beginning, but once you’ve found it, it’s well signposted and definitely worth a walk.

The path goes over a small mountain from Taisan-ji to Takahama, with an option to climb to the peak of Mt. Kyogamori, followed by a walk along a ridge to the peak of Iwagoyama. If you’re simply in a hurry to get to Takahama on foot, you can bypass the peaks and take the fairly level and easy route below them. But if you do that, you’ll miss most of the views.

At Taisan-ji, the path can be accessed from the left-hand corner of the platform that runs around the left of the temple, behind the concrete retaining wall. It goes up some steps through woodland. You’ll soon notice that there are small stone figures at intervals along the path. These represent the Buddhist goddess Kannon, and each one symbolizes a different temple on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

After a short climb of ten minutes or less, you come to a signposted three-way junction. You can go down the hill to the Tourist Port in Takahama, along the hill to Takahama Port, or up the hill to Mt. Kyogamori, and thence to Takahama Port if you wish. I recommend going up to Mt. Kyogamori, which takes less than ten minutes. The path is narrow, steep, winding and rocky in places, but it doesn’t present any challenge to a half-fit person.

The top is adorned with a shipping signal of some sort, and yet another Kannon figure mounted on what looks like a propulsion system. But the eye will tend to be drawn away from this hardware to the amazing views in all directions, from the high mountains in the south to the beaches north of Matsuyama, and the myriad islands of the Inland Sea. When I last went, the distant mountains were snow-capped. I disturbed a family of buzzards, who glided off into an immense sky and circled back to check me out. If the weather’s mild without much wind, this is an ideal spot for a picnic. Photographers will be in their element.

I went down from Mt. Kyogamori and along a ridge and up to Iwagoyama. There’s nothing much to see here, and it can easily be skipped. The path down to Takahama offers more fine views. It passes some derelict buildings, behind which is a cave. Those foolhardy enough to squeeze through the narrow entrance may encounter bats, depending on the season. This path comes off the mountain about a hundred meters south of Takahama railway station, within easy walking distance of Takahama Port and Matsuyama Tourist Port.

The walk one way can be done in about 30 minutes at a brisk pace, but you’ll want to spend some time looking at this and that. It’s best to wear sensible clothing and take something to drink, even if the weather isn’t hot.

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