Daiitokuji Temple

offers visitors a spiritual retreat.

Explore Ushitakisan Daiitokuji Temple, a Popular Senshu Spot for Fall Foliage

There are many charms of Daiitokuji Temple; beyond paying a visit to the temple, explore waterfalls and enjoy hot springs. The perfect location for hikers, visit the serene waterfalls of Ushitakisan and enjoy the stunning views of Daiitokuji Temple, and top it all off with a relaxing soak in nearby Ushitaki Onsen.

The Scenic Daiitokuji Temple

Daiitokuji Temple is famous for its colorful maple leaves in autumn.

Daiitokuji Temple is considered to be a sacred place for Shugendo, an ancient ascetic religion based on mountain worship that blends elements of both Buddhism and Shinto. Practitioners called yamabushi, which translates to “one who endures in the mountains,” engage in spiritual and physical disciplines to develop spiritual powers. Mountains are considered to be other-worldly, and are training grounds for esoteric Buddhists to practice personal and spiritual self-discipline.

 

The temple is actually thought to have been established by a founder of Shugendo, and is a sacred site for the practice of what is called “Katsuragi Shugendo.” The name comes from nearby Mt. Katsuragi, which straddles the borders of Nara, Osaka, and Wakayama prefectures, and is thought to be the location where Shugendo was first established. For this reason, there are many training grounds in the area for practitioners, many of which are still used in the present day. They are collectively part of Katsuragi Shugendo.

Gorgeous fall foliage at Ushitakisan.

Daiitokuji Temple is home to the tahoto (literally “two-story”) pagoda, and a main worship hall, but the insides of both are regularly closed to visitors. Along with the maple-covered hills of the nearby mountains, the temple buildings offer a picturesque view that is particularly popular with visitors during the fall foliage season. Be sure to keep an eye out for the friendly jizo statues welcoming you through the first gate! These statues primarily protect children, and are usually dressed in red bibs and hats, often with jovial expressions.

 

The Serene Waterfalls of Ushitakisan

Ichi-no-Taki Falls has an impressive drop of about 10 meters.

Ushitakisan (or Mt. Ushitaki) is located within the Kongo-Ikoma-Kisen Quasi National Park, and has a bamboo leaved oak forest, the Ushitaki River, and waterfalls. The bamboo leaved oak is an endemic species, and considered quite valuable. As a result, it has been designated as a special cluster of plants by the Ministry of Environment.

 

The area is famous for colorful autumn leaves around Daiitokuji Temple and the surrounding area. The hiking courses around this mountain is popular with local residents during the autumn to view the changing colors and to enjoy the fresh, cooler atmosphere. A short walk through the hiking course from the temple greets you with the first of the three-story waterfalls. Hikers can take a rest and view the waterfall before climbing the path to see the view from above.

 

One of the easier courses is a short lap which can be completed in just over an hour, ideal for beginners or those who want to take it easy. There are more challenging courses as well.

A Dip in the Hot Springs

The relaxing, open-air bath at Shikimatsuri Onsen, one of the facilities in the hot spring village Ushitaki Onsen.

There is more to enjoy than just the scenery. After completing the hiking course, head down to the nearby Shikimatsuri Onsen to take a dip in the naturally occurring hot spring waters. The water is known as “Bijin-no-Yu.” Bijin refers to a person of great beauty in Japanese, and the name comes from the silken texture and highly moisturizing properties of the water. Both indoor and outdoor baths are open to day visitors between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.).

 

Adults (12 years and over) cost ¥750 per person and children (3 years and over) cost ¥350 per person. It is recommended that visitors bring their own towels and amenities such as soap and shampoo, but they are also on-site for an additional fee.

 

Shikimatsuri Onsen also offers overnight traditional and western-style accommodation within the hotel complex, as well as Canadian-style outdoor log houses. Japanese-style rooms are equipped with futon mattresses on tatami flooring, while the other rooms are equipped with beds. Opting for the log house gives guests access to a fully equipped kitchen and outdoor grills. Each log house can accommodate up to five people. The outdoor grills can also be reserved from April to October with advanced inquiry.

There are many jizo statues on the temple grounds.

It is recommended to visit Ushitakisan and Daiitokuji Temple by rental car. A large car park is located at Shikimatsuri Onsen, which can also be used by hikers. Alternatively, guests planning to visit Shikimatsuri Onsen can utilize a free shuttle bus on weekdays that services Kishiwada Station and Kumeda Station. There is also a fixed-route bus from Kishiwada Station (served by the Nankai Main Line) that can take visitors to the foot of the temple grounds. However, this service is infrequent, so plan ahead.

 

For Senshu tourist information inquiries, please contact the Senshu Japan Concierge Team.

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