Thursday, 17 August 2017

Access to the Place of Ascetic Training

Mt. Shosha Ropeway in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture

Shosha-zan (Mt. Shosha) is a small mountain (371 m above sea level), where a rich natural environment remains. It is located in Himeji City of Hyogo Prefecture about 650 km west of Tokyo. Engyo-ji temple is in the center of the mountain. Along with Enryaku-ji temple on Hiei-zan (Mt. Hiei) in Kyoto Prefecture, Engyo-ji is known as a place of ascetic training for Buddhists.

Engyo-ji was opened in 966 by Shoku, who was a Buddhist monk. Among the many beautiful halls in the temple precinct, I like Jikido best. It is a wooden, full two-story structure originally opened in 1194. The current building was supposed to be re-constructed in Muromachi period (1336-1573). It is designated National Important Cultural Property of Japan.

To visit this holy place, please take aerial tramway Mt. Shosha Ropeway. Connecting Sanroku and Sanjou stations, its operating length is 781 meters. The height difference between the two stations is 211 meters. Its operating speed is 5 meters per second and it takes 4 minutes to get to Sanjou Station. The operating interval is 15 minutes on average.

Mt. Shosha Ropeway was opened in 1958 by the Transportation Bureau of Himeji City. The current two gondolas, which were built by Anzen-sakudo Company, were launched in 1992 as the third generation of gondolas. The riding capacity is 71 passengers in each one. The passengers can enjoy a beautiful view of Himeji City.

Mt. Shosha Ropeway... an access to the place of ascetic training.

Jikido hall in Engyo-ji temple near Sanjou Station on the Mt. Shosha Ropeway

Official information about Mt. Shosha Ropeway (in Japanese):