We wanted to stay in temple lodging near Dewa-Senzan, the three sacred mountains of the mountain ascetic practice that dates back about 1,000 years (a little more below). Temple lodging is similar to a ryokan (Japanese traditional inn), but a little more relaxed. Daishinbo is in a perfect location to walk the two blocks to the 2,466 steps that lead to the top of Haguro-san, where the main temple is located. Our triple room at the very end of the inn was HUGE - maybe 36 x 20'! It also had a lovely view overlooking a field with bamboo and wild grasses, onto which 3 sliding doors opened for the breeze.
While simple, the inn is well maintained and comfortable in a quiet small town. It even has air conditioning! The Shinto Yamabushi priest and his wife are welcoming and helpful, even if you don't speak Japanese. And the wife, Toki, prepares a delicious dinner and breakfast.
If you are not accustomed to Japanese bathing customs, be aware that most people use the communal bath at night. Therefore, when we went to shower in the morning, the hot water was not turned on. Just go to the front room and ask for the hot water to be turned on. They will be most accommodating.
The unusual torrential rain interrupted our plans to hike Gas-san and Yudono-san (for which the priest's son was going to serve as our guide), but our hosts suggested alternative plans. At their recommendation we visited Gyokusenji Temple, which has a lovely garden that was designed in 1640 (not walking distance but not far).
The only downside: futons not as comfortable as some and "bean bag" pillows are not very comfortable to Westerners.
Dewa-Senzan is the modern name of the three sacred mountains consisting of Haguro-San, Gas-San and Yudono-San. Shrines were built on all three mountains to honor the “kami” (spirits) of the mountains; here, yamabushi, mountain ascetics, came for training. Haguro-san is thought to represent birth, Gas-san death, and Yudono-san rebirth.
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