This past Sunday I took a day trip to the small town of Yamadera. Taking the train to this quiant tourist town took just over an hour winding through the mountainous area of Tohoku region (northern part of the main island of Japan). While on the train we stopped at Sakunami (another resort town that has a famous ensen(traditional Japanese hot spring and spa)) for soup. Now this soup was amazing for two reasons – one it was free (the train stopped and everyone got out to enjoy the free soup) and two it was gorgeous out (18C and sunny). Plus there were a few ladies dressed up in traditional Japanese kimonos. As the train made its way winding through the mountains, I managed to take some videos of the view from the train to show the hilly terrain and the autumn colors.
The town of Yamadera is quiet and peaceful (there were a few tourist buses) and there was a continuous stream of tourists heading up to the top of the mountain to see the temple (both foreigners and Japanese). We managed to snag a table at a traditional Japanese restaurant (sitting on the tatami mats on the floor) with bowls of noodles (mountain mushrooms, seaweed) and giant mugs of beer.
The climb up the mountain was slow due to the volume of people and the narrow winding steps. However, it did force me to stop, take some pictures and videos along the way.
The view from the top was spectacular and breathtaking. There was a shinto ceremony being performed at the temple and being my spiritual self I light some incense and said a prayer. There were two oddities that I noticed at the top – one was a post box and the other was a paved path winding up the rest of the mountain with telephone and electrical wires strung up beside it.
The climb down was much faster (less people as we spent more time than most at the top exploring the various buildings, paths and gardens) and we rewarded ourselves with some zonda ice cream and a tour of a famous pottery shop.
In reality this was more the temple of 500 steps due to my long legs.
Facebook Video (courtesy of Greg – yes I fell asleep on the train ride there – it’s par the course of working nights)