Ashikura-ji has been the spiritual and cultural center of Tateyama Town for over 1,200 years. The area has actively promoted Tateyama Worship (Tateyama Shinko), the mandala depicting heaven and hell believed to exist on Mt. Tateyama, and has acted as a refuge for those on the pilgrimage to scale Mt. Tateyama. Monk's lodgings once lined the main road up the mountain where climbers would rest, listen to monk's teachings, and enjoy a wonderful monk's meal thought to spiritually and emotionally center those who dined on it.
Today, the Tateyama Museum facilities continue to inform travelers of the intense history of the area's past and offers afternoons of fun and enlightenment with its museum, open-air park, historically-important and recognized features, as well as Furusato Koryukan, where visitors can delight in a 100% vegan meal prepared from local mountain vegetables just as its been for the last many centuries.
This page details each feature of Ashikura-ji Area, and access details can be found at the bottom of the page
Let's get started!
Take a stroll through OYAMA SHRINE. Breathtaking Tateyama cedars tower over 40 meters and have stoically watched over the area for hundreds of years. This shrine is the epitome of a peaceful, quiet spot. There are two shrines dedicated to the founder of Tateyama (Ariyori Saeki) and his father (Ariwaka Saeki). Ariyori was believed to have met Amida Buddha in the mountains and was told to build shrines and bring people from all over the world to climb Tateyama and pray for entry into Buddhist Paradise.
Tateyama Museum (Main Building)
Welcome to TATEYAMA MUSEUM, the information center for everything past, present, and future in Ashikura-ji. The main building details geographical and natural features of the area and delves into details of Tateyama Worship, Nunobashi Kanjoe Purification Ceremony, the old woman deity known as Onba-sama, and much more of the history and culture of the area. Here, visitors can buy an all-inclusive pass for 650 yen for three total facilities; the museum main building, yobokan, and Mandala Yuen). While touring the museum, visitors can use their smart phones or borrow them from the museum and use an interactive English guide for detailed information of each display.
One of the two former monk's lodgings from the original 33 that inhabited the area, KYOSANBO is a building from the late Edo Period (around the year 1820) with tatami mats overlooking a Kyoto-inspired garden with a koi pond.
Enma Hall & Myonen Hill (Enmado & Myonenzaka)
Following the road up the mountain, on your right you will find a small parking lot where the local bus stops as well as ENMA HALL, dedicated to Enma, Judge of the Dead. The statues inside are hundreds of years old, and the main statue on display is Enma himself, looking as powerful as ever. Note the small Jizo statues along the outside of the building; some are so old they've been weathered away in the hundreds of years they've stood there, protecting travelers who come to visit. From the hall, follow the stairs down MYONEN HILL, a peaceful, quiet forest area encompassed with enormous cedars and breathtaking mountain views. The ancient jizo statues line the path, leading travelers on their way to the Other World on Tateyama, where the gods reside.
At the bottom of the spiritual hill Myonenzaka, visitors will find themselves at Nunobashi Bridge. Much can be said of this crimson bridge. It has been believed for centuries to the connector of the human material world with the Other World, land of the gods said to occupy Mt. Tateyama. The river below is believed to be the mythical "Sanzu-no-kawa," a Buddhist equivalent to the Greek River Styx. It is said upon death that souls reach the river, and must cross it in one of three ways (hence the name, "three-ford river").
Those whose hearts were pure would be able to cross the river by bridge. Those with some sin in their past would trudge through the waters. And finally, the most sinful would plunge into the watery depths, their eternal damnation sealed.
Nunobashi Bridge is the site for the Nunobashi Kanjoe Purification Ceremony, an all-women event dedicated to the purifying of hearts. Long ago, Tateyama forbade women from climbing the mountain, citing that the gods would get angry. However, it was believed that those who didn't climb the mountain couldn't be saved. In place of climbing, women were invited to participate in the purification ceremony to experience spiritual death and rebirth, leaving behind a life of sin and purifying their hearts. This ceremony continues into modern day after being revived in 1996, and the next ceremony will take place in Fall of 2020.
Covered by the 650-yen inclusive ticket, those with Japanese ability can enjoy the professionally-made presentation at YOBOKAN about the founding of Tateyama, nature on Tateyama, and Tateyama mountain belief. Even without the language ability, the movie is immensely enjoyable and can bring an understanding Tateyama mountain worship. The movie is 40 minutes long and movie times are at 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, and 15:00.
Mandala Yuen Open-Air Park
Follow the path out of Yobokan to reach the entrance of MANDALA YUEN, the third and final part of the 650-yen inclusive ticket. Mandala Yuen is an open-air park dedicated to stimulating all of your senses and exposing you to the hell and heaven believed to exist on Mount Tateyama. A fun and interactive experience unlike any other, visitors experience first-hand the terrors of oni-filled hell, the ethereal calm of the land in-between, the peace of Buddhist heaven, and the dark, winding trail that leads back to re-birth.
For more information on Tateyama Museum facilities, check out their official English page here.
Ashikura-ji Community Center--Furusato Koryukan
FURUSATO KORYUKAN offers a traditionally-prepared monk's meal and a tatami dining room as well as exceptional local friendliness.
This 100% vegan meal is made with regionally-picked vegetables, traditionally prepared tofu and veggie soup, smoked bamboo, glazed potatoes, grilled rice cake, and delicious Toyama white rice. Available Friday to Sunday, 10-4. Call in advance to guarantee availability (076-482-1756). Those with no Japanese ability can e-mail their reservation details (number of people, time, and date) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to guarantee you a reservation.
Monk's meals range from 800 to 1800 yen. More pictures and info on the meals available at Furusato Koryukan (Japanese) here:
Want to spend the night in Ashikura-ji? SOSHINBO is one of the last remaining monk's lodgings in the area. Located right in front of the main building of Tateyama Museum, visitors can leisurely enjoy this area sorich with history and tradition. Visitors can stay in traditional Japanese rooms and be provided breakfast and dinner for 8,000 yen per person. Those who want to make arrangements can e-mail email@example.com for assistance.
Access to Ashikura-ji By Car
Address to Tateyama Museum:
〒930-1406 Toyama-ken, Nakaniikawa-gun, Tateyama-machi, Ashikuraji, 93-1
Access to Ashikura-ji By Train
FIRST, take a train from DENTETSU TOYAMA STATION to CHIGAKI STATION (in the direction of Tateyama)
- Toyama Station and Dentetsu Toyama Station are two separate stations.
- To reach Dentetsu Toyama Station, exit Toyama Station south exit and head left. Dentetsu Toyama Station is a short walk and then up some escalators/stairs.
- The train leaves about once an hour on weekends, and slightly more often on weekdays.
- It is 1020 yen one way with exceptional views of the Tateyama mountain range on clear days.
THEN, from Chigaki Station you can take a local bus to Oyama Shrine, the best place to start exploring the Ashikura-ji Area. The bus schedule is posted above.
- Carefully check the train schedule on Google and cross-reference with the bus time table above.
- Be careful to distinguish weekday from weekend times. The bus is 200 yen one-way and 5 minutes between Chigaki Station and Ashikura-ji area.
- The bus works fairly well in accordance with the train times, so you can USUALLY* expect the timing to work out well. However, please exercise caution: sometimes there are no buses for when afternoon trains come in.
- For example, visitors may come into Chigaki Station at 12:44 but there isn't a bus until 13:25 to take them to the Ashikura-ji area.
- Getting back on the train headed into the mountains will take you to Tateyama Station, the beginning of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route with sites such as Shomyo Falls, Murodo, and Kurobe Dam.Those who take the train FROM the un-manned Chigaki Station can take a ticket
from the machine once you board the train and then use that ticket to pay at the ticket gate in Dentetsu Toyama Station or Tateyama Station.
As always, any questions and concerns can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you soon!
Access to Ashikura-ji Area by train from Tokyo