Japan Travelogue Mount Takao
The long path takes us higher and higher, until we come to the pilgrims’ walkway with brightly painted red lanterns on both sides. We have finally arrived at Takaosan Yakuo-in Temple. An awesome statue of Tengu greets us with his long nose, big eyes, and wings on his back. He must be close to 4 meters tall. Tengu, a goblin or minor god in Japanese folklore, is said to live in the mountains and roam about protecting the environment.
The belief that gods and spirits live in the mountains goes back to ancient times. After Buddhism came to Japan, monks would climb mountains they considered sacred, seeking a place to practice physical and spiritual disciplines. From their practices came Sangaku Buddhism, which reveres nature in the mountains. Mount Takao became one of Japanese Buddhism’s highland sanctums, and a temple was constructed here about 1,200 years ago. It seems natural that this mountain was chosen, because from it there are good views of the wide Kanto Plain below.