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Heisenji Hakusan Shrine in Fukui: Video Introduction

This video, titled "【Fukui/Famous Tourist Attractions】Heisenji Hakusan Shrine - A Temple Covered in Moss - Heisenji Hakusan Shrine in FUKUI, JAPAN -" (【福井/観光名所】平泉寺白山神社/青苔が広がる苔の宮 - Heisenji Hakusan Jinja in FUKUI, JAPAN -), was uploaded by "channel WASABI."

This video shows you the charms and history of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine with a video tour through its moss-covered cobblestone paths. Please enjoy the 7-minute video showing the solemn atmosphere of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine.

Heisenji Hakusan Shrine: The History of the Shrine & the Deities Worshipped There

Image of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, Katsuyama, Fukui
Photo:Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, Katsuyama, Fukui

Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is located in Katsuyama, Fukui, in Japan's Koshinetsu region. Its history dates back to 717 AD, during the Nara Period (710-794 AD). The shrine is the predecessor of Heisenji Temple and was founded by the monk Taicho Taishi. Later, it became a branch temple of Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hieizan, and as the base of mountain worship in the Echizen Province, it boasted such prosperity that it had 48 shrines, 36 halls, and 6,000 monasteries.

However, it was burned down during a civil rebellion in the Sengoku Period (1467-1615 AD). Moreover, Heisenji was banned during the Meiji Period as part of an order to separate Shintoism and Buddhism. Later, Hakusan Shrine was built on the site and became the current "Heisenji Hakusan Shrine." Located within the specially designated Hakusan National Park area, the site is a well-known tourist attraction in Fukui Prefecture, and is designated as a National Historic Site under "Former Precincts of Hakusan Heisenji Temple."

Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is dedicated to the oldest goddess of well-being for couples, Izanami no Mikoto. In Japanese mythology, she is the creator of the Japanese continent and other gods in Japan and is considered the greatest god among them. It is believed that she blesses the well-being of couples, families, and future generations.

In this vast area, many ruins have been discovered, though only a few have been studied. As researchers dig deeper, they discover more and more artifacts, such as cobbles and items from the schools of monks from medieval Japan. It's believed that there are still many more hidden treasures beneath the ground.

The Best Seasons to Visit to See the Beautiful Mossy Temple

Image of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, Katsuyama, Fukui
Photo:Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, Katsuyama, Fukui

Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is famous as a moss temple. From the cedar grove, to the boundary stones along the approach to the shrine, to the stone pavement leading to the hall of worship, the spacious shrine grounds are covered in beautiful green moss. The best time to view the approximately 100 varieties of moss is during Japan's rainy season from June to July. During this season, when the mosses are even more beautiful, it can feel as if you've wandered into another world.

Spring brings fresh greenery, while in early summer the heavenly water-laden mosses shine even brighter. Autumn brings colorful foliage, and winter brings snowy landscapes. The contrast of the four seasons at Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is so incredible that it's hard to believe such beauty was created by nature. Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is the northern center of worship for Mt. Hakusan and is a popular power spot. If someone is available at the shrine office, have a goshuin stamp put directly into your stamp book if you're collecting them. Beautiful Echizen washi (Japanese paper) is used for the goshuin stamps.

Attractions at Heisenji Hakusan Shrine

Image of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, Katsuyama, Fukui
Photo:Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, Katsuyama, Fukui

There is much more to see at Heisenji Hakusan Shrine than just moss, and while the time required for a visit varies depending on how you choose to tour the grounds, it generally takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours. You can request a guide up to 7 days in advance, so you can plan your visit in accordance with your travel itinerary.

Here are some of the highlights of the shrine.

The Cobblestone Paths Leading to the Garden
The cobblestone paths at Heisenji Hakusan Shrine are included in the list of Top 100 Roads in Japan. It's said that about 1,000 years ago, ascetic monks carried stones from the Kuzuryu River to make them.
[Video] 0:30 - The Cobblestone Path Leading to the First Torii Gate

The Second Torii Gate
The second torii gate of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine has quietly watched years of history unfold before its eyes, with visitors such as Minamoto no Yoshinaka praying for victory in battle, or Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Benkei passing through the gates. The second torii gate also has an unusual shape with a roof over it.

Mitarashi Pond
This spring was discovered by the great Buddhist monk Taicho Daishi on his way to Mt. Hakusan. Legend says that a goddess appeared before him and instructed him to ascend to Mt Hakusan.
[Video] 1:48 - Mitarashi Pond Surrounded by Dense Greenery

The Giant Cedar of Wakamiya Hachiman
Near Wakamiya Hachiman is a massive, majestic 450-year-old cedar tree. It is one of the seven cedars that survived the burning of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine during the Sengoku Period.

The Main Shrine Pavilion of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine
In 1795 AD during the Edo Period (1603-1868), Shigetomi Matsudaira, the samurai in charge of the Echizen province (today known as northern Fukui Prefecture), rebuilt the main pavilion of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine. The door of this shrine opens only once every 33 years, and the next time the door is scheduled to open is in 2025. On the door, there are spectacular sculptures of mythical creatures, including Kirin and Dragons. The best way to get to Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is by car. It has a parking lot that can accommodate 30 standard vehicles and it costs 300 yen to park, in order to fund maintenance of the historical landmark.

Things to Do Near Heisenji Hakusan Shrine

Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is located a short distance from the city of Katsuyama, where there are a number of things to see and do. Below we'll introduce a few of them.

Echizen Daibutsu
A 17-meter-tall Buddha statue. Taller than the Great Buddha of Nara at Todaiji Temple, it features 2 smaller Buddhist statues on each side of it, and Seidaiji Temple, where the Echizen Daibutsu is located, houses 1,281 Buddha statues. The temple is also home to a 5-story pagoda.

Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (9:00 am - 4:00 pm during winter)
Admission Fee: Adults: 500 yen, Elementary, middle, and high school students: 300 yen. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

Katsuyama Castle Museum
Katsuyama Castle was built during the Warring States Period (1467-1615 AD) in present-day Katsuyama, Fukui. During the Edo period (1603-1867), it was used as the headquarters of the Katsuyama Clan. The castle museum features swords, guns, armor, etc., with hundreds of years of history to explore.

Hours: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (Admission until 4:00 pm). Closed on Wednesdays
Admission Fee: Adults: 700 yen, Children (Elementary, middle, and high school students): 280 yen. Discounts available for groups of 20 or more.

Yume Ole Katsuyama Textile Factory Memorial Hall
Once a textile factory, the building was repurposed into a museum and now acts as a place where visitors can learn about spinning and weaving machines and techniques used in the past. There are also hands-on experiences available where visitors can make their own coasters, etc. from silkworm cocoons.

Hours: 9 :00 am - 5:00 pm. Closed on Wednesdays (If Wednesday is a holiday, closed the following day).
Admission Fee: General admission: Free. Hand weaving coaster experience: 600 yen. Hand-woven hemp yarn coaster experience: 800 yen. Mayu dama (cocoon ball) craft experience: 600 yen. High loom weaving experience: 1,500 yen

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum
As one of the leading dinosaur museums in the world, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum is filled with a variety of dinosaur skeletons and fossils of plants and animals, and also features animatronic robots showing how the dinosaurs would have moved.

Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (Admission until 4:30 pm)
Admission Fee: Adults: 730 yen, High school and college students: 420 yen, Elementary school and middle school students: 260 yen, Young children and seniors: Free. Discounts are available for groups of 30 or more.

Summary of Heisenji Hakusan Shrine

The dense trees, carpets of moss, and cobblestone approaches steeped in history make Heisenji Hakusan Shrine a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction. Enjoy a trip to the mystical shrine and experience the slow flow of time. There are many nearby tourist attractions in the surrounding area to check out as well. Stay at a hotel and enjoy the charms of Fukui to your heart's content!

【TripAdvisor】Heisenji Hakusan Shrine

Written By
Last Updated : May. 2, 2023
I'm an upcyclist living on the tip of the Boso Peninsula.
Heisenji Hakusan Shrine – A Guide to the Famous Moss Temple of Fukui, Japan. Learn the History of the Temple, When to Visit, and More While Enjoying Video Footage of the Breathtaking Temple Grounds
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