Horaiji temple [鳳来寺]

Mount Horaiji
Mount Horaiji
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

Approach to Horaiji
Approach to Horaiji
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

Map of Horaiji

Horaiji is a Buddhist temple of Shingon Buddhism, a major school of Japanese Buddhism.
"O" in the word is pronounced long, so it is read as "Hôraiji".

It is located about 30 km northeast of Toyohashi city, and is in the mountain in Shinshiro city.

The temple is near the top of Mount Horaiji (695 m).
So the surrounging lands are steep and covered with forests.

The temple was founded in 702.

From the 13th to the 19th centuries, this temple had developed under the patronage of the governments.

Niomon gate on the approach to Horaiji
Niomon on the approach to Horaiji
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

Main temple of Horaiji
Main temple of Horaiji
Photo by Aichi Prefectural Tourism Association

In 1651, Toshogu Shrine was built near the temple.
It enshrines Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the founder of Edo government as a god, and the name is the same as famous "Nikko Toshogu" and "Kunozan Toshogu".

The parents of Ieyasu could had no children for a long time.
After they worshiped at this temple, it is said that Ieyasu was born soon.
So Mount Horaiji became a sacred mountain.

Tokaido was the main route between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto through Toyohashi.
The branch route to make a pilgrimage from Tokaido was set up to Horaiji, and many worshippers visited here.

The main temple was destroyed by fire in 1915, but it was rebuilt in 1974.

Now, there are only Toshogu Shrine, rebuilt Horaiji temple and a few old buildings in this mountain.

Horaiji Toshogu
Horaiji Toshogu
Photo by Aichi Prefectural Tourism Association

Horaiji Toshogu
Horaiji Toshogu
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

The main route to this temple is from the southwest foot of the mountain.

Along the approach through the small temple town, there are some ryokans and shops.
But you must walk up 1,425 stone steps from there to the temple.

If you travel by rental car, the road called Horaiji Parkway leads to around the temple, from Yuya Onsen hot spring resort at the eastern foot of the mountain.

A walking trail passing through the temples, Toshogu, the top of Mount Horaiji and a few observatories is set up.
The length is about 3 km, but it is hilly hiking course.

Scenery from Horaiji
Scenery from Horaiji
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

Entrance to Horaiji in autumn
Entrance to Horaiji in autumn
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

In the temple town at the foot of the mountain, there is Horaiji-san Natural Science Museum.
It introduces the animals and plants inhabiting Mount Horaiji.

By the way, people had listened to any bird singing "Buts-Pou-Sou" around Mount Horaiji since old times.
In Japanese, "Buts" means "Buddha", "Hou" (Pou) means "teaching of Buddha", and "Sou" means "priest".
These are called the three treasures of Buddhism.

In 1935, at last, it was confirmed that it was the song of Japanese scops owl.
A stuffed Japanese scops owl is displayed in the museum.
Additionally, it is designated as the symbol bird of Aichi Prefecture.

Buts-Pou-Sou in Natural Science Museum
Buts-Pou-Sou in Natural Science Museum
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

Yuya Onsen
Yuya Onsen
Photo by okuminavi.jp, Aichi Prefecture

Yuya Onsen (湯谷温泉)

Yuya Onsen a hot spring resort at the eastern foot of Mount Horaiji.
It is along Hourai Gorge formed by Ure River and there is the entrance of Horaiji Parkway.

It is an old hot spring opened about 1,300 years ago.
There are about a dozen hotels and ryokans.

How to get here

To Horaiji (Temple town), get off at Hon-Nagashino station of JR Iida Line.
From Toyohashi, about 40 minutes by limited express, about 1 hour by local train.

Then, by route bus, about 8 minutes from Hon-Nagashino station. (About 5 km)

To Yuya Onsen, get off at Yuya-onsen station of JR Iida Line.
From Toyohashi, about 45 minutes by limited express, about 1 hour and 10 minutes by local train.

Hotels around Horaiji

Hotels around Horaiji

Other Tourist Attractions in Aichi Prefecture

Nagoya Kiyosu Castle Inuyama Castle Urakuen garden Museum Meiji-mura Toyota Automobile Museum Seto city Tokoname city Okazaki Castle Toyokawa Inari temple

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