Wild cherry blossoms in spring, fireflies and river frogs in summer, stunning foliage in fall and sweeping snowscapes in winter. If you’re in search of beautiful mountain scenery along with history, tradition and a touch of the Japanese spirit, Inunakisan is a perfect destination. Less than an hour trip from Kansai Airport, this sacred spot awaits you.
Unsurprisingly, the site has a long history. Known as Japan’s oldest Buddhist monastic center for Shugendo, or Japanese mountain asceticism, the complex was founded by ascetics over 1300 years ago. Many of the temples, waterfalls, and rock structures remain today, ready for would-be pilgrims—or just tourists looking for a spiritual experience—to visit and enjoy. The centerpiece is Shipporyuji Temple (its name means “The Waterfall of Seven Treasures”), which will welcome you with its peaceful atmosphere and a powerful message: ”Experience the power of nature with all five senses, look at yourself and purify your body and mind”. If you’re looking for a respite from the road, you can do just that at Mount Inunaki’s hot spring resort. Soaking in the pleasant, relaxing waters of an open-air hot spring bath while gazing upon breathtaking mountain vistas will have you feeling like a part of nature. And perhaps, you’ll also find yourself wondering how the place got its name (which translates to “Dog-Barking Mountain”).
Here is the story: in the era of Emperor Uda, a hunter from Kishu was hunting in these mountains. Just as the hunter was about to shoot a deer, his dog barked so loudly that the deer ran away. Angered, the hunter beheaded the dog, but its head then jumped up to attack a giant snake that would have otherwise killed the hunter. The hunter, now realizing that the dog was only trying to save his life, felt deep remorse at his horrible actions. To atone, he decided to become a monk at Shipporyuji Temple and spend his days praying to the spirit of his dog. It is said that the Emperor was deeply moved when he heard this story, and issued an edict to the temple that its name be changed to Inunakisan (“Dog-Barking Mountain”) ever after.
No established hours; open year-round.
(*Shipporyuji Temple is open from 7:30 a.m. to 16:30 p.m.)
Free to enter.
(*Hot spring facilities require an admission fee.)
Address: Oogi, Izumisano City, Osaka Prefecture
Airport: Kansai International Airport
Izumisano City Tourist Association