Mount Daisen (1729m) is the highest mountain in Tottori Prefecture and carries strong symbolism. It is also a sacred mountain, which is why there are many temples and shrines around the area. See what there is to discover around Mount Daisen!
History and Formation
Mount Daisen is an independent mountain that does not has connections with the other mountains. It became volcanically active about 1 million years ago. It was continuously active, and the last eruption was about 20,800 years ago. These volcanic activities made Mt Daisen into a stratovolcano mainly composed of dacite.
The whole area is designated as the Daisen Oki National Park. The mountain is selected as one of the best 100 mountains in Japan. Because of its beauty and symbolic nature, it is also nicknamed Hoki-Fuji or Izumo-Fuji. We often put the word “Fuji” after the name of the area to show it is the most important mountain in the area.
Hiking at Mount Daisen
Walking at the foot of the mountain is a nice experience. It is not just hiking, but you can also feel the sacred atmosphere visiting several temples and shrines.
Daisenji Temple was founded in 718. It was one of the biggest temples in Japan. At the peak time, there were about 100 sub-temples and 3,000 monk soldiers. After the separation order of shrines and temples, however, they lost their power and now there are only 4 halls and 10 sub-temples in a quiet atmosphere. The main hall is a reconstruction from 1954.
The Amidado is the oldest construction of Daisenji Temple. It was constructed in the mid 16th century. The main statue was sculpted by the famous sculptor monk Ryoen in the 12th century. You need a reservation to see this old Buddhist statue and you can also try Zazen meditation in this hall. Both the hall and the statues are designated as National Important Cultural Properties.
Shrine Approach and Vegetarian Cuisine
The approach to the shrine is really something. It is the longest stone-paved approach to a shrine in Japan. It stretches for about 700 meters. Some parts are really steep. This approach, surrounded by old cedar trees, was made in the late 18th century. There used to be many priest and monk residences on both sides of the approach. There remain several Jizo statues on the way.
Then, at the end of the approach, you will find the huge complex of Ogamiyama Shrine. It is unknown when it was founded, but from a long time ago, it has served as a center of mountain worship. The main hall is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.
There are several restaurants at the foot of the mountain. Among them, there is a temple accommodation called Sanrakuso. There, you can have a vegetarian temple lunch without staying overnight. Also, there are some souvenir shops, so before you go back to the city, you can spend some time for eating and shopping.
Climbing to the Summit
If you prefer to climb to the summit of the mountain, you can walk up to the second peak called Mount Misen. Due to a landslide caused by an earthquake in 2000, it is prohibited to climb to the summit. But the top of Mt Misen is only 20 meters lower and also regarded as a summit of Daisen. It takes about 6 hours for a round trip and you can enjoy a magnificent view from the summit of Mt Misen.
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Mount Daisen Access Information
Access: 50-minute ride on the bus from Yonago Station (JR Line) to Daisenji (大山寺) stop