Constituent Cultural Property: Mt. Mitoku

The Legend of the Lotus Petals
- The beginning of Mt. Mitoku's 1300-year history

One of the lotus petals dropped by an ascetic landed on Mt. Mitoku.

Long ago, a Shugendo ascetic, threw three lotus petals into the air and prayed for them to land on places holy to Buddhism. One of these petals landed on Mt. Mitoku in Hoki Province, and it thus became a holy site of Shugendo. This story has been passed down to this day as "the legend of the lotus petals".

Misasa Onsen
-- List of constituent cultural properties

  • Mt. Mitoku

    Mt. Mitoku

    National Site of Scenic Beauty and Historical Significance

    It is Mt. Mitoku that lies at the heart of the Purification of the Six Roots of Perception story. It is hallowed ground of mountain Shugen, a unique landscape in which steep terrain is interwoven with distinct architectural structures.

  • Mt. Mitoku

    Mt. Mitoku "Way of the Ascetics" (Kusarizaka)

    Part of a National Site of Scenic Beauty and Historical Significance

    The six roots of perception: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The "Way of the Ascetics" is a form of training intended to purify the Six Roots of Perception. The goal of the path is to reach the Nageiredo (a national treasure). Putting one's life on the line while trying to reach this temple ensconced high up on the mountain will sharpen and hone all of ones senses.

  • Sanbutsu-ji Hondo

    Sanbutsu-ji Hondo

    Prefectural Protected Cultural Property

    This building represents the start of the "way of the ascetics" and the "nose" of the purification of the six roots of perception. Before setting off for the Nageiredo, pilgrims offer a stick of incense and are wafted by the scent of the incense smoke as well as the perfume of the rhododendron trees, which are considered sacred in Shugendo.

  • Sanbutsu-ji文殊堂

    Sanbutsu-ji Monzyudou

    National Important Cultural Property

    Kusarisaka represents the "body" of the six roots of perception. From the top of the hill, the view of the Japan Sea and the proud elevations of the mountains slowly purifies the heart of the pilgrim.

  • Sanbutsu-ji Shorodo

    Sanbutsu-ji Shorodo

    Prefectural Protected Cultural Property

    The "ear" of the six roots of perception is represented by one of the temples dotted along the way of the ascetics. At this temple, whose method of construction remains a mystery, pilgrims should perform the bell-ringing ceremony and calm the mind before entering the Nageiredo.

  • Sanbutsu-ji Temple (Nageiredo)

    Sanbutsu-ji Temple(Nageiredo)

    National Treasure

    Buildings and constructions are the focus of the "eye" in the purification of the six roots of perception. The buildings, located on precipitous cliffs and whose construction methods still amaze us to this day, are the symbol of Mt. Mitoku. The statue of Zaogongen -- the symbol of the faith -- is placed in the sanctuary of the temple and represents the final destination of the path and the fulfilment of one's vows.

  • 三徳山火渡り神事

    Mt. Mitoku fire walking ritual

    The autumn Buddhist memorial service at Sanbutsu-ji represents the "mind" of the six roots of perception. Participants believe that by walking barefoot on the fire their prayers will be heard, even if they have not visited the Nageiredo.

  • Vegetarian cuisine and Mitoku tofu

    Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and Mitoku tofu

    Represents the "tongue" in the six roots of perception. Eating foods that have been provided by the mountains purifies the body in anticipation of the start of the visit to the holy sites.