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Houraiji is a Buddhist temple of Shingon Buddhism, a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and is located about 30 km northeast of Toyohashi city. The temple is near the top of Mount Houraiji (684 meters high). So the surrounging lands are steep and covered with forests.
It was founded in 702. And from the 13th to the 19th ceturies, this temple had developed under the aegis of the governments. In 1651, Toshoguu Shrine enshrining Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of Edo government, as a god, was built. So the branch route to make a pilgrimage from Tokaido route was set up, and many worshippers visited here.
In the late 19th century, this area became the main one of the shrine by government policy. Only a little area for the temple was permitted, but the temple had declined. In 1915, the main temple was destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt in 1974. In this mountain, there are only Toshoguu Shrine, rebuilt main temple and a few old buildings.
The main route to the temple is from the southwest foot of the mountain. Along the approach through the small temple town, there are some ryokans and shops. But you must walk up 1,425 stone steps from there to the temple.
If you travel by rental car, the road called Houraiji Park Way leads to around the temple, from Yuya hot spring resort at the eastern foot of the mountain.
A walking trail passing through the temples, Toshogu, the top of Mount Houraiji and a few observatories is set up. The length is about 3 km, but it is hilly hiking course.
In the temple town, there is Horaijisan natural science Museum. It introduces the animals and plants inhabiting Mount Houraiji.
Since old times, people had listened to any bird singing "buts-pou-sou" around Mount Houraiji. In Japanese, "buts" means "Buddha", "hou" (pou) menas "teaching of Buddha", and "sou" means "priest". They are called the three treasures of Buddhism. In 1935, at last, it turned out to be the song of Japanese scops owl. A stuffed Japanese scops owl is displayed in the museum. Additionally, it is designated as the symbol bird of Aichi Prefecture.
Yuya hot spring resort is along Hourai Gorge formed by Ure River. It is an old hot spring opened about 1,300 years ago, and there are about a dozen hotels and ryokans.
How to get to here
• To Houraiji (Temple town), get off at Hon-Nagashino station on JR Iida Line. From Toyohashi, about 38 minutes by limited express "Inaji", about 1 hour by local train. Then by route bus, about 8 minutes from Hon-Nagashino station.
• To Yuya hot spring resort, get off at Yuya-onsen station on JR Iida Line. From Toyohashi, about 45 minutes by limited express "Inaji", about 1 hour and 10 minutes by local train.
Run on Tomei Expressway, and exit at Toyokawa Exit. About 28 km from there.