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Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata Prefecture

This video, titled "Risshaku-ji Temple Temple 4K - Risshaku-ji in Yamagata" (宝珠山立石寺 4K - Risshaku-ji in Yamagata), was uploaded by "channel WASABI."
It explores Risshaku-ji Temple, a National Site of Scenic Beauty in Yamagata Prefecture, Tohoku, Japan.

Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture is an ancient temple opened by a monk in 860 A.D.
It is one of the most famous temples in Japan's Tohoku region.
It is most famous as the temple that Matsuo Basho made a haiku poem about, in his poetry book "Oku no Hosomichi."
The poem goes like this-

Deep silence
the shrill of cicadas
seeps into the rocks

The temple suffered damage from fire several times between the Kamakura Period (1185~1333) and Muromachi Period (1336~1573).
In the Edo Period (1603~1868), the temple was given a territory of 1,420 koku by the government and rebuilt the temple buildings.
The temple currently owns a land of 330,000 tsubo where around 30 various sized buildings are built.
It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Yamagata Prefecture.

Built on top of the tall steep stone cliff, Risshaku-ji Temple lays within the beautiful natural landscape of Zao Quasi-National Park.
Here you can enjoy the beautiful seasonal views and elegance of nature. Yamagata Prefecture proudly boasts the temple as a National Site of Scenic Beauty in Japan.
The video captures the beautiful Risshaku-ji Temple in stunning 4K quality. The sound of the piano adds to the beauty of Risshaku-ji Temple.

The "Four Temple Pilgrimage" of Yamagata Prefecture

image of spring scenery at Risshaku-ji Temple
Photo:Spring scenery at Risshaku-ji Temple

Risshaku-ji Temple is spiritually associated with Hiraizumi Chuson Temple (平泉中尊寺 Hiraizumi Chusonji), Moutsu Temple (毛越寺 Moutsuji), and Matsushima Zuigan Temple (松島瑞巌寺 Matsushima Zuiganji), and the pilgrimage route to visit the four temples has become a popular tourist activity in Yamagata.
There are many spots along the route that are great for taking Instagram pictures as well.
Your trip isn't complete until you've collected a shuin stamp from all four temples!
Making a trip to all four temples is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

The Pilgrimage Route for Risshaku-ji Temple

image of Yamadera (Yamagata Prefecture)
Photo:Yamadera (Yamagata Prefecture)

The recommended route to visit Risshaku-ji Templeis shown below.

1. Start of the trail:Start here. The pilgrimage to Risshaku-ji Temple is more like climbing a mountain. (0:48 in the video)

2. Konpon Chudo Hall (根本中堂 Konponchudo)

3. Basho Mound (芭蕉塚 Bashozuka)

4. Treasure House (宝物殿 Takaramonoden)

5. Mountain Gate (山門 Sanmon)

6. Cicada Mound (せみ塚 Semizuka)

7. Nio Gate (仁王門 Niomon)

8. Inner Sanctuary (奥の院 Okunoin) (1:22 in the video)

9. Three-storied Pagoda (三重の小塔 Mieno kotou)

10. Kaizan Hall (開山堂 Kaizando), Nokei Hall (納経堂 Nokeido) (1:31 in the video)

11. Godai Hall (五大堂 Godaido)

The route takes around 1.5 hours to complete, and you have to climb up 1,050 stone steps!
From the start of the trail to the peak, you'll only walk up the steps.
You won’t need special attire, just normal clothes and shoes are fine.
You can complete a pilgrimage and get some light mountain climbing in at the same time!
Take your time enjoying the history and culture of Risshaku-ji Temple.

Other halls include Shoso Hall (性相院, Shosoin), Kinjo Hall (金乗院, Kinjoin), Chusei Hall (中性院, Chuseiin), and Kazo Hall (華蔵院, Kazoin).
You can check the official website to see the map showing the exact locations of each hall.

Tourist Attractions and Dining at Risshaku-ji Temple

Image of konjac at Risshaku-ji Temple
Photo:konjac at Risshaku-ji Temple

The most famous dishes at the ancient Risshaku-ji Temple area are wild vegetable dishes and Japanese Soba - buckwheat noodle.
The temple is well-known for being a mountain temple surrounded by the steep cliffs and magnificent mountain views. You can taste delicious Japanese dishes using wild vegetables grown on the mountain.

Access to Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata prefecture

Train:30 minutes by bus or taxi from JR Yamagata Station
Car:15 minutes from the Yamagata Expressway
Air:30 minutes from Yamagata Airport

Risshaku-ji Temple is on top of a very steep cliff.
There is a free car park for visitors. However, it is very small, so we recommend that you use public transport when possible.

Hotels Around Risshaku-ji Temple

If you're visiting Risshaku-ji Temple for a pilgrimage or sightseeing, we recommend staying at a hotel near JR Yamagata Station or JR Yamadera Station on the JR Senzan Line.

Summary of the Serene Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata Prefecture

Image of Jizo statue
Photo:Jizo statue

Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture has been connected with Hie Shrine (日枝神社 Hie Jinja) by Shinbutsu-shugo.
It is now completely merged with Risshaku-ji Temple, and In May every year, they have an event called the Sanno Festival.

The Harsh climate of Yamagata brings the seasonal beauty of nature- cherry blossoms and plum trees in spring, fresh greenery in summer, beautiful autumnal foliage in fall, and snowy scenery in winter.
It's a place where you can enjoy the natural landscape of Japan and majestic views year round.
The views from Risshaku-ji Temple are shown at 1:57 in the video.
With an elevation difference of approximately 160m, the view from Risshaku-ji Temple on top of the steep cliffs is something special.

The video also shows the solemn atmosphere of the mountain temple and the beautiful changes that each season brings. Be sure to check it out if you haven't yet!

◆Risshaku-ji Temple◆
【Address】4456-1 Yamadera, Yamagata, 999-3301
【Access】30 minutes from Yamagata by car
【Parking】Available. 10 free spaces
【Telephone No.】023-695-2843

【Official website】Risshaku-ji Temple

Written By
Last Updated : Mar. 30, 2022
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori
1,015 Steps to the Top of Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture. A National Site of Scenic Beauty, With a View That Moved Even the Famous Poet Matsuo Basho!
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