The history of the Nishitama region
The Nishitama region has evidence of human activity dating back to the Palaeolithic period, around 20,000 years ago.
The mountain has a 2,000-year history of being open to the public, and the inns in the sky will add color to your trip.
Since ancient times, Mt. Mitake has developed around Kinpusan Mitake Zao Gongen (the predecessor of Musashimotake Shrine) as a sacred mountain of mountain worship.
Mitake, and the Okuno-in (inner sanctuary), and Mt. Otake, which continue behind Mt. Mitake, were training grounds for ascetic ascetics, and in the distant past, mountain ascetics probably ran around on the steep rocky terrain and ridges.
From the Kamakura period to the Edo period (1603-1867), the shrine was devoted to swords and large armor, which samurai warriors highly revered. Two items were designated national treasures, and many other important cultural properties were maintained. Currently, they are stored and displayed in the Hall of Treasures.
On top of the 929-meter-high mountain, there are rows of houses of prayer masters that have continued to stand since the Edo period (1603-1868), creating a unique landscape unlike any other mountain. Prayer masters offer prayers when believers spread throughout the Kanto region visit the shrine and also serve as lodgings to entertain believers.
The shrine's name was changed to "Mitake Shrine" due to the Shinto/Buddhist Separation Order, and further to "Musashi Mitake Shrine" in 1952, and has continued to the present day. Priests of Musashi Mitake Shrine run all lodging houses in Mitake, and unlike in the past, they are now open to the general public.
While the mountain is still revered as a mountain of faith by many believers who come to pray, the peaks that were once the object of faith have now become a place of relaxation for mountain climbers, and the mountain paths where ascetic ascetics used to strut their stuff for ascetic practice are now well-trodden mountaineers.
However, nature still welcomes us like it did in the past.
The Mitake san
Accessible to both residents and climbers since 1935.
It connects Takimito station and Mitakesan station in about an hour by climbing the trail, over a distance of about 1,100m in about 6 minutes.
The elevation difference between the two stations is 424m and the maximum gradient is 25 degrees, which is the highest in the Kanto region.
Musashi Mitake Shrine
At the top of Mt. Mitake, which stands 929m tall, there is a shrine that is believed to have been constructed in 90 BC. This mountain has been regarded as a sacred site since ancient times. The shrine is home to various buildings dedicated to numerous gods, and it hosts festivals and events throughout the year. The "Oinu-sama" is a messenger of God depicted as a Japanese wolf, and it is believed to prevent disasters, fires, thefts, and illnesses.
Shukubo lodgings were originally built for pilgrims and are run by priests called "Oshi".
Some shukubo feature beautiful historical buildings designated as tangible cultural properties, while others have thatched roofs over 150 years old. Each Shukubo has a unique altar and serves warm-hearted meals made with local ingredients such as homegrown vegetables, mountain vegetables, and local fish.
Ayahironotaki Falls is situated upstream of the Rock Garden.
It is famous for its ancient ritual called "Misogi" performed by the Musashi Mitake Shrine. The waterfall is known as "The waterfall of discipline and purification ceremony" due to this ritual, which cleanses the body. It is a magnificent waterfall that drops from a height of about 10m. At the right back of the waterfall, there is a god that purifies the dirt. The waterfall is still used for training as it is considered a sacred place.
The Rock Garden
The Rock Garden is a 1.3 km walking path that runs along the swamp and showcases various rocks, starting from Tengu Iwa Rock and ending at Ayahironotaki Falls. The path runs alongside a clear stream that flows through the mossy rocks and allows you to fully appreciate the power of nature. You can witness the bright fresh greenery in spring, lovely wildflowers in summer, and autumn leaves in the valley.
Teng's Chair cedar
Tengu's cedar chair is believed to be 350 years old. The tree was tall, standing at around 60 meters with a trunk measuring 6.5 meters in diameter. It is said that the Tengu, known as the guardian deity of Mount Mitake, sits on a branch that extends 1 meter horizontally before extending vertically. From this position, the Tengu is said to keep watch over the people below.