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.