Minobusan Kuonji Temple

Finding Peace by Ascending Mt. Minobu

Waiting high up on Mt. Minobu is an area that just might be the place to catch your breath and center yourself. From the fresh crisp air of the mountains to the morning meditations offered at Kuonji Temple, there’s no shortage of options for unwinding during your visit to Yamanashi.

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Find your inner peace high above Yamanashi at this 750-year-old Buddhist temple on top of Mt. Minobu.

Find your inner peace high above Yamanashi at this 750-year-old Buddhist temple on top of Mt. Minobu.

The majestic Minobusan Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu is the head temple of the Nichiren school of Buddhism, and as such has a history of 750 years. To reach the temple, visitors must first climb a massive stone staircase. Conquering the 287 mossy steps is thought to be part of one’s Buddhist training, a small ordeal to surmount on the path to enlightenment. After arriving at the top, visitors are welcomed by the sight of a 39-meter-tall red pagoda, the fourth tallest in Japan. After catching your breath, step inside the main hall of Kuonji Temple to admire the ceiling, where a dragon painted in black ink on gold leaf gazes down imperiously.

In addition to the main hall, there are a number of temple buildings connected by walking trails, so this is a pleasant spot for a light hike. The temple is particularly beautiful in spring when the 400-year-old shidare-zakura (weeping cherry tree) beside the main hall is in bloom. Keep your eyes peeled as you wander the grounds and you may be rewarded with a glimpse of the wild creatures that live in the surrounding forest. For those who want to enjoy the landscape below Mt. Minobu without breaking a sweat, there’s an old-fashioned ropeway that can whisk you up to a height of 1,153 meters, offering views of the river valley and a path that leads to the Minobusan Okunoin Sisinkaku.

Visitors are welcome to join the three daily prayer services. Morning services take place in the main hall at either 5:30 or 6 a.m., depending on the time of year. The afternoon service takes place at 3 p.m. in the Buddha Hall. To truly experience the spiritual atmosphere of the area you can opt to stay overnight at nearby shukubo temple lodgings and sample elegant shojin-ryori (vegetarian temple cuisine).

Minobusan Kuonji Temple

Minobusan Kuonji Temple

About four hours from Tokyo by train and bus, one of the best views of Yamanashi’s landscape also comes with a bit of history and the revered culture of Buddhism in Japan. Head up Mt. Minobu to truly feel Japanese culture while making your lungs happy with the fresh mountain air.


Tel: +81 556-62-1011
Email: info@kuonji.jp

Business hours

05:00 - 16:55(April-september)
05:30 - 16:55(October to March)


Digital Map

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