Mountain Range, the Tengu, Shintoism, and Tokyo Tourism: Mount Takao and Culture
Olivier LeCourt and Hiroshi Saito
Modern Tokyo Times
Japanese tourism is internationally famous because of many different angles. This applies to the rich traditions of Japanese culture that can be found throughout this nation. Therefore, the imagination focuses on Buddhism, Haiku, Japanese gardens, Japanese tea ceremony, kabuki, Shintoism, ukiyo-e and a host of other intriguing aspects are conjured up in the mind.
Likewise, images of Tokyo and major cities like Osaka remind people of ultra-modernity, state-of-the-art-technology, skyscrapers, and various modern cultural angles related to cosplay, maid café, kawaii culture, anime, manga and a wealth of other areas. However, within Tokyo, you also have a stunning mountain range in and around Mount Takao where Tokyoites – and tourists alike – can escape from the buzzing reality of modern Tokyo.
Another major aspect of Mount Takao is that the mountain range is blessed with many religious dimensions. Therefore, during your walking time, you will often notice special holy places dotted in many parts of this mountain. This aspect of Mount Takao means that individuals can find an inner-peace based on the natural scenery that is extremely stunning. At the same time, the religious dimension provides a spiritual re-awakening for individuals who have lapsed from religion and the same applies to individuals who may follow no faith. This doesn’t imply that people will suddenly find spirituality. However, people can’t fail to notice the religious dimension that blends naturally with the natural environment.
The cultural aspect of Mount Takao is extremely special because the natural reality of Shintoism means that faith and nature fuse exquisitely based on the unique traits of this religion. Given this reality, the power of the past remains spiritually alive within the natural world despite the different centuries ushering in more technological progress. Also, despite all the technological progress it is clear that the stunning scenery of the countryside can’t be matched because of the natural potency of nature and the natural reality of Buddhism and Shintoism that can be found on Mount Takao.
The historical legacy of Mount Takao is also very important because Emperor Shomu ordered the building of the Yakou-in Temple in 744. This rich legacy enabled the religious angle to develop to a greater degree and provided a strong historical lineage to be cherished and honored. Therefore, since the eighth century, you have had countless numbers of pilgrims and non-religious people who have visited Mount Takao because of the cultural and religious dimensions of this part of Tokyo.
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times says, “During your visit, you will see a statue of Tengu whereby Tengu is believed to be a deified man who mastered ancient mountain worship. Tengu is noticeable by having a long nose but the undercurrents of ancestor worship, Shintoism, and believing in the spirit world of the mountain are equally striking……mythology and a wisdom now lost are symbolized by the image of Tengu.”
Lee Jay Walker continues, “From my point of view, the glorified Tengu reminds me of a mixture of human form and nature where the individual was at one with the mountain that he loved. Therefore, in time, the Tengu became deified once his natural manifestation took place.”
Mount Takao is protected by the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park, therefore, it is a place where wildlife can escape the onset of continuing developments. For Tokyoites who visit regularly, then this stunning place is a way of escaping all the stresses of modern life. Meanwhile, hikers will enjoy the various contours of Mount Takao. Also, this stunning part of Tokyo is a reminder that the old world is still alive and ticking to a different clock.
Overall, this stunning mountain range is extremely therapeutic therefore tourists, religious people, romantic couples, individuals seeking refreshment, photographers, schoolchildren, artists, culture vultures, and so much more, will find this adorable place deeply refreshing.
Lee Jay Walker gave guidance to both main writers
Modern Tokyo Times images
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/takaosan.html – Mount Takao-san
http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/ – Mount Takao-san
http://www.japan-guide.co – Mount Takao-sanm/e/e3029.html
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Some cultural articles by Modern Tokyo Times are republished in order to inform our growing international readership about the unique reality of Japan.