A tiny population of only a couple of thousand people or so doesn't stop Hinohara Village from offering some incredible beauty. Surrounded by some proper nature, the temples and shrines of Tokyo's only mainland village take full advantage with views and unique religious practices. Here is an introduction to some of these temples and shrines of Hinohara and how to reach them.
An incredible mountain view at Gyokudenji Temple is matched by the beauty of its Zen garden. Part of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, the temple offers Zen mediation sessions, while the grounds also feature a bell tower and even a small cafe next door. Visiting during the autumn with the leaves in full colour is a must.
A 40-minute no.10 bus ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line.
Easy enough to access, Hozoji Temple offers a rough and rustic example of a mountain temple with traditional bell tower and a main temple building. Set at the top of flight of stone steps, the temple is part of the Toyoyama sect of Shingo Buddhism and incudes a number of enshrined jizo statues.
A 30-minute no.18 bus ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line.
Located in the far western side of the village, Kuzuryu Shrine has a history of some 700 years and is a branch shrine of the one in Togakushi in Nagano Prefecture. Close to the Kuzuryu Falls 'power spot', the shrine sits at the end of a steep flight of stairs in the midst of verdant mountain forest.
A 35-minute drive from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line.
A unique temple offering shugyo ascetic training, Tenkoji Temple is popular for those looking to experience Japan's traditional mountain spiritual legacy. From takigyo waterfall meditation to shakyo sutra copying and shabutsu tracing of Buddhist imagery, this esoteric Mikkyo Buddhist temple is a complete experience.
A 35-minute no.18 bus ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line.