Waiting at the head of a hard mountain trail
A temple perched in the sky

Yamadera Risshakuji Temple

Yamadera Risshakuji Temple

Famed haiku poet Matsuo Basho dubbed Yamadera “The Temple in the Mountain.” Formally called Risshaku-ji, the temple was founded in 860 AD by the priest Ennin on the orders of Emperor Seiwa. One of the temple’s most celebrated features is a 1015-step stone staircase winding through a serene forest densely packed with majestic Japanese cedars. The steps deliver travelers to the inner shrine and Godaido Hall nestled at the mountain summit. The panoramic view from the top is breathtakingly still, sprawling and beautiful, and shifting with each change of the seasons.

The Godaido, built thirty years after the original temple, juts out from the cliff to offer a spectacular view of the valley below. Standing on the precipice high above the lush forests and tiny villages creates the illusion of floating in the sky, far from the cares of the world below.

Yamadera Tourism Association
4456-1 Yamadera, Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture 999-3301
+81 23 695 2816
http://www.yamaderakankou.com/eng.html
Open hours:
9:30 – 16:00 (April to November)
10:00 – 15:00 (December to March)
Access:
About 5 minutes on foot from Yamadera Station on the Senzan Line.
The magnificent panoramic view from the towering rock rising above the steep stone steps changes in spring, summer, autumn, winter, to a breathtaking beauty. In the precincts of 330,000 tsubo, there are over 30 large and small pagodas which you can enjoy the views of the seasons.
Entrance fee: adults are 300 yen each and children are 200yen each.