Alena Eckelmann

Yamadera in Winter

Mountain temple in snow and ice

Alena Eckelmann   - 1 min read

Visiting Yamadera in winter? No problem as long as you wear the right shoes and warm winter clothes! "Mountain Temple", one of Yamagata Prefecture's most famous landmarks, is exactly what the name promises - a temple in the mountains. There are actually several temple structures located at the foot and on top of the mountain and a long flight of stone steps lined by stone lanterns connects them. Famous 17th century poet Matsuo Basho visited here too, although in warmer season, and he promptly penned a haiku about the voice of cicada. The icy winter landscape only adds to the natural beauty of this place, although the ascetics of old who sat in meditation in one of the caves carved in the rocks, will have had other things on their minds. Walking up the stone steps deeply covered in snow is quite strenuous but it is an unusual winter experience with some spiritual flair. If you happen to go on a skiing holiday to the nearby Zao Onsen ski resort and you need a break from the slopes, then take time out for a half-day trip to Yamadera.

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Founder of Kii Monogatari, my story and the story of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Originally from East Germany, I came to Tokyo, via Berlin and London, in 2005. In summer 2011 I moved by choice to remote Kumano in the south of the Kii Peninsula where I live, work and play now, and explore every da...