Mt. Shichimen 七面山
A mountain pilgrimage through ancient forests and villages, with temple lodgings waiting
Getting to Mt. Shichimen and up to the summit is a multi-day affair. If you join the annual Monk's Run on the last Sunday in November, you may be able to make the 36-kilometer pilgrimage in a matter of hours, but for most people, two or three days is ideal.
The starting point, Minobu , is located in southern Yamanashi.
- The 287 stone steps to enlightenment at Minobusan Kuonji Temple
- Walking along Akasawa's narrow streets to see the dozen or so original inns
- The two magnificent waterfalls located between Akasawa and the entrance to Mt. Shichimen
How to Get There
Rail access is via JR Kofu Station, a key station on the line connecting Tokyo and Matsumoto, or JR Shizuoka Station on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.
Mt. Minobu first
To ensure that you reach Akasawa Village before you lose the light, the first stage of this pilgrimage is best attempted no later than noon. If you cannot arrive in Minobu early enough, you should consider staying at one of the temple inns near Minobusan Kuonji Temple.
Akasawa Village next
After you have reached the top of the mountain and visited the mountaintop temple, you will descend to the ancient village of Akasawa. The village with its dozen or so inns, fields of green tea, and dramatic mountain vistas, is an unforgettable sight.
Although you can theoretically walk from Mt. Minobu to the top of Mt. Shichimen in around nine hours, consider spending a night at the inn known as Osakaya. Be prepared to bring your own food, as meals are currently not available at this inn. You are more than welcome to use the inn's kitchen facilities.
At the peak of Shichimen
Before you ascend Mt. Shichimen, purify your body under one of the dramatic waterfalls near the entrance to the mountain. As you climb, you may want to stop at one of the covered rest areas along the trail.
At the summit, you can spend the night at the temple inn attached to Keishinin Temple. A very reasonable price buys you basic lodging and two temple meals.
In addition to attending the evening prayers at the temple, be sure to see the sunrise over Mt. Fuji from the temple gate at the summit.