Yamadera’s namesake literally means “Mountain Temple,” but is also known as Risshaku-ji, founded in 860 AD as a Tendai sect temple of Buddhism. A hidden gem off the beaten path, Yamadera has a treasure house with several important cultural assets. The mountain temple’s natural surrounding is a national Place of Scenic Beauty and a Historic Site. Recognized as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan, Yamadera’s cicadas were written about in a famous haiku by Matsuo Basho in 1689. The pathway to the temple itself is surrounded by a dense cedar thicket with a ten thousand-step climb. Established on a steep hillside, the temple offers a picturesque view at the top of the temple.

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