A small temple on the rock (Photo: Elena Lisina)

Climbing Yamadera

Tohoku's famous mountainside temple

Elena Lisina   - 2 min read

Heading to Yamadera it didn’t occur to me that the climb up would be such a challenge! I’d read it was a picturesque old temple in the rocky mountains, but still... I found that I had to climb about 1 km! At the base of the mountain there are some temples but then the stairs go up and up... and some more up!

People who were heading down from the summit were happily relieved and encouraged those of use who were just starting out. The way wasn’t boring though as there were plenty of old Buddha and jizo statues dotted here and there. Tall cedar trees and high rocks with meditation caves and grave stones all added to the appeal. Whenever level ground appeared I would stop and take in the panoramic views of the area.

Close to the top there is an observation desk with a splendid view with wooded mountains, a river and small village at the bottom. The fine weather in October allowed for a beautifully clear view of the bright colours of the momiji trees. Yamadera is beautiful in any season, even in winter. The top was marked with an old wooden temple and a graveyard, and after visiting these I descended back down the mountain, grateful that I had successfully met the challenge of Yamadera.

Getting there

Yamadera a 5-minute walk from JR Yamadera Station on the JR Senzan Line. It is about one hour by train from Sendai Station. A one way ticket is 840 JPY.

More info

Find out more about Yamadera Temple.

Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I am interested in Japanese art, crafts, history and Shinto religion. Photography is my hobby, and there are many amazing places to capture in Japan.