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Hiking to Mt. Kasagi
Meet the mystery of Buddhist images carved on a huge rock face

The winding, steep path leads you to the top of Mount Kasagi (288 meters high) where Kasagi Temple lies. The history of the area is extremely long. It is said that already 2000 years ago, people lived in this area and believed in the Iwakura Worship, a religious belief where people worshiped large rocks as deities. Later in the Nara period (710-794), the worshippers' belief developed and they inscribed Buddhist images on the surface of large rock as well as built temples. Mount Kasagi itself was the gyoba, or the religious training course in the mountain where Buddhist monks underwent ascetic practices during the Nara period. As a result, Mount Kasagi has been regarded as the mecca of Japan's ancient mountain worship.

Today, visitors can still visit two grand Buddhist images called Magai-butsu, inscribed on the surface of large rocks. The main image of the temple for worship is Miroku Magai-butsu, whose figure has become so worn that one can hardly recognize the Buddha. However, the rock, 15 meters high, looks dignified enough to let you imagine how powerful the people's worship was. The other slightly smaller rock, Kokuzo-butsu, still retains a clear, eloquent image of Buddha. When, how and who created these magnificent Buddhist images is still unknown, however, no matter what, Kasagi is the place where you can meet and sense a mighty existence.

Open: 9:00-16:00; Admission 300 yen; About 45-min. walk from JR Kasagi Station; www.kasagidera.or.jp