Mt. Takao, located in Hachioji City, Tokyo, is visited by numerous tourists and mountain climbers throughout the year. It can be easily accessed in about an hour from the city by express train on the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station. It has several hiking courses ranging from those designed for beginners to those for more experienced hikers enabling anyone to find one that suits their own level of comfort.
Long regarded as a sacred mountain by devotees, for more than 1300 years it is said to convey all types of good fortune and have beneficial effects on those who visit it. In addition to receiving a Michelin Green Guide Japan 3-star listing for its scenery, like that of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Takao has a number of power spots and is popular among those who worship Tengu.
In this article we would like to recommend power spots and goods on Mt. Takao, the sacred mountain closest to Tokyo. The mountain has many power spots that are reputed to have beneficial effects from receiving good luck, fortune, and success in love!
The very popular Octopus Cedar brings good luck
After getting off the cable car at the Mt. Takao Station it is about a 3-minute walk along Hiking Course 1. Next to the trail is the Tako Sugi which means “octopus cedar”. It gets its name because the roots of the tree resemble the curled legs of an octopus. Tako Sugi is estimated to be about 450 years old and among the trees on Mt. Takao it is the second largest after the Meshimori Cedar.
A long time ago, when the Tengu believers were clearing the approach to Yakuo-in Temple, they had no choice but to cut the cedar trees that obstructed the way. Legend thus has it that overnight the roots of the cedar curled up like the legs of an octopus thus making it possible to pass. People of old viewed that as a sign of the spiritual power of Tengu and began worshiping the cedar because they equated “opening the path” to “bringing good luck”.
Next to the Tako Sugi is the Hippari Tako monument. It is considered to also bring good luck if you rub the top of its head.
This is a very popular power spot on Mt. Takao drawing many visitors for the sole purpose of rubbing the head of this cute, round octopus that shines brightly in the sun. This is a good-luck spot together with the Tako Sugi you should visit.
Cleanse your mind and body at Sanmitsu no Michi Kunuke-mon [Gate Relieving Bitterness on the Path of Three Secrets]
Proceed along Course 1 past the Tako Sugi and you will come to a fork in the road. The path to the left leads to Otoko-zaka [Man Hill] and the one to the right to Onna-zaka [Woman Hill]. The path up Onna-zaka is not as steep as that of Otoko-zaka which consists of 108 stone steps representing the 108 earthly desires. It is said that with each step as you ascend one of those earthly desires is eradicated.
Both Onna-zaka and Otoko-zaka lead to the same place, but before going on to Yakuo-in Temple, it is considered good to rid yourself of earthly desires by taking the Otoko-zaka path.
The Gate Relieving Bitterness on the Path of Three Secrets is on Otoko-zaka path. The three secrets are “correct actions”, “correct speech”, and “correct thought”. By practicing these and endeavoring to free oneself from earthly desires is said to lead to enlightenment.
So, they say passing through this gate will help with such endeavors. Going through this gate and going up the stairs, there is a stupa (a dome dedicated to the Buddha) at the top that is said to have bones of the Buddha enshrined in it. This is a power spot that heightens spiritual experiences.
Purify your six senses at the Rokkon Shojo Ishiguruma [Six Roots-cleansing Stone Wheel]
Go up Otoko-zaka, walk a little beyond Ohsugihara and you will be able to see the Sanmon, which is the Mountain Gate of Yakuo-in. Outside the gate facing south is Zochoten (left), Komokuten (right) facing west, while inside the gate facing north is Tamonten (left) and Jikokuten (right) facing east. These are the impressive Shitenno, which are the Four Warrior Demigods.
Passing under the Mountain Gate you will immediately see on the right the Rokkon Shojo Ishiguruma, one of the recommended power spots.
Rokkon, or "Six Roots" collectively refers to the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body, considered the five senses, together with the intention (heart) to properly use each of them. The meaning of praying to the gods for purification is contained in these six senses. Rokkon Shojo, purification of the six senses, is said to be attainable by diligently climbing this sacred mountain.
Also, there are Rokkon Shojo Ishiguruma in 18 various locations on the mountain. By rotating each one six times it totals 108 rotations which is the same number of human earthly desires. Reciting the phrase "Zange Zange Rokkon Shojo" (repent, repent, clean the six roots) while rotating the stone wheel is what is usually done.
Pray that all your wishes will come true at the "Negai Kanau Waku Kuguri"
Opposite the Rokkon Shojo Ishiguruma is the Negai Kanau Waku Kuguri. This ring made of stone is said to represent the ring of wisdom of the Amitabha. One passes through the ring while fervently wishing that all one's wishes will come true.
After passing through the ring, on the other side there is a large priest's staff that is said to have the effect of removing earthly desires and replacing them with wisdom. Ringing the large priest's staff increases the chances of your wishes being granted. The best way to do that is to recite your own name and address clearly while soundly striking the staff so that Amitabha will hear your wish.
Pray for good luck at Hachi Dairyuo-do
Hachi Dairyuo-do is said to be a power spot for good luck and vitality. It is another power spot located within the grounds of Yakuo-in Temple that you should visit.
The Hachi Dairyuo-do - roughly translated meaning the eight great dragon kings - are the representative guardian deities of Buddhist gods. Originally it is a dragon god that governs the rain and water that are the sources of life. The palace in which the dragon king resides is said to be the same as the Ryugujo dragon palace in an old folk tale.
The image of one of the eight dragon kings, Sakara Ryuo, is worshiped in the Hachi Dairyu-do in Takaosan Yakuo-in Temple. Water springs up at the foot of the impressive golden statue and here several small baskets have been placed.
Those seeking good luck put money in the baskets and then dip them in the water to purify the money after which it is taken home as capital. Amulet bags for putting the purified money in are sold at the temple office and these make good souvenirs.
The central power spot of Mt. Takao is the Great Main Hall
When you visit Mt. Takao be sure to also visit the Main Hall of the Mt. Takao Yakuo-in Temple. Izuna Daigongen is enshrined here.
In the hall there is also a large mask of a fierce-looking Tengu. Tengu is related to Izuna Daigongen and has been deified since ancient times. The Tengu belief of Mt. Takao originated here and this spot is said to be the most central power spot on Mt. Takao.
Pray for more luck in love at Aizen-do
Aizen-do, just behind the Main Hall, is a small hall where Aizen Myo-o [Ragaraja] is enshrined. Aizen Myo-o is a Buddhist deity that leads one to seek enlightenment in regards to lust and earthly desires and saves those troubled by various things. It is said to be beneficial in the fulfillment of love, marriage, and marital harmony.
The entire form brightly colored in red symbolizes the love and mercy that overflows from the body of Aizen Myo-o. If you wish to improve your luck in romance, then this is definitely a good power spot to visit.
Recommended "omamori" souvenir charms
When you visit Mt. Takao Yakuo-in after going around to the various power spots, why not check out the good-luck goods and amulets? The talisman office of Yakuo-in sells many kinds of amulets.
Shown in the photo is the Nigiri Buddha that can only be purchased at Mt. Takao Yakuo-in; 1,500 yen (including tax). This is an oval-shaped amulet that just fits in the palm of the hand. There are two types, each with different Sanskrit characters etched in them; one wishing for success in endeavors and the other recovery from illness.
As an amulet unique to Mt. Takao, where the Tengu faith is popular, we recommend the Lucky! Kuroishi Mamori 500 yen (tax included) with Tengu design. This lucky charm has the power of Tengu to ward off evil. Always keeping it with you will bring you the benefits of Tengu.
The Kanau Wa Mamori, 800 yen (including tax) is recommended for those who have passed through the Negai Kanau Wakurin and rung the priest's staff to show that they have made a wish. This is an amulet which if worn reminds you every day of your wish. It is available in three colors: ebony, boxwood, and red sandalwood.
There are so many other "omamori" charms to choose from - bring back a bit of Japanese luck as a souvenir from your visit!
Feel the power of the mountain at Mt. Takao's summit
The summit of Mt. Takao is the greatest power spot on the mountain. If the weather is nice you can see Mt. Fuji in the distance.
A long time ago, when building Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace), it was laid out so as to capture the power of water from Tokyo Bay and the power of fire from Mt. Fuji based on feng shui. The ground vein that draws that energy is called the “dragon vein”, and that dragon vein apparently runs from Mt. Fuji to Mt. Takao. Therefore, it is said that climbing Mt. Takao will give you the same benefits as climbing Mt. Fuji.
From the observation deck at the top of the mountain, you can see distant mountain ranges. If the weather is nice you can see the World Heritage Site Mt. Fuji in the distance. Caressed by pleasant forest breezes, this is a popular power spot that is crowded with climbers who commemorate their climb to the summit by taking photos.
Sanfuku Dango: A snack that brings three kinds of happiness
After visiting the many power spots, I recommend you try the Sanfuku Dango, three dumplings on a stick designed to bring you good fortune. It is sold at a corner in the Mt. Takao Sumika commercial facility right next to the Mt. Takao cable car station.
The name Sanfuku Dango means "3 good fortune dumplings", meaning the snacks should bring you luck! These are Daifuku (great fortune), Kofuku (happiness), and Yufuku (wealth). Eating these is said to bring these three different forms of luck, making them very popular among the many visitors to the mountain.
There are different flavors, such as those with walnut miso sauce or soy sauce, depending on where you buy them. Be sure to try the Sanfuku Dango, a power food, when you see it!
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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