The name of Yakuoji is said to originate from the Yakuo-ji Temple of Tendai Buddhist sect, which was built in the Kamakura Period. In the early Edo period, the temple switched to Zen sect but was abolished in the early Meiji Period, only leaving Yakushi-do hall. Today, it goes independent as a shrine.
Mount Egasa (727.8 meters) is a boundary point of Fukuchiyama City, Kaya Town and Tanto Town. The entire length of the mountain climbing trail is 1,573.4 meters. In March 2008, the local community overhauled it. Legend has it that, in the period of Emperor Yomei (585-587), Gozu Tennoh-jinja Shrine was at its summit, earning the respect as a pivotal place for mountain worship.
The mountain in Izurio settlement has a gigantic rock. There is a small shrine under its protruding part, and a few several-hundred-year-old trees firmly sustain it. In the shrine, a wooden-carved figure of En-no Gyoja, a founder of Shugen-do (mountaineering ascetic) in the 7th or 8th century, and Fudo Myoo (Cetaka) are enshrined. The festival celebrating the shrine is held on the 4th Sunday of April.
Fuegaoka Hill (Ruins Of Saiko-ji Temple)
There used to be Saiko-ji Temple, the predecessor of Gakuon-ji Temple, on Fuegaoka Hill. It was dilapidated and then abolished. The hillside shows signs of its ruins.
People in Kutani settlement of Yakuoji have long worshiped Bishamonten (Vaisravana). It is one of the Four Heavenly Kings and regarded as the god of war and the god of good fortune. It is believed to grant benefits linked to livelihood.
Koshin-San And Kannon-Sama
These Koshinto Pagoda and Kannon-sama statues rest at a public hall of Nakamura settlement. Kannon-sama statue is believed to have belonged to Saiko-ji Temple.
Oblation Of Mando Votive Light
Oblation of a three-meter-tall mando votive light to Buddha is held at 20:00 of August 24th, which falls on Urabon (Feast of Lanterns), at the precincts of Muraoka-jinja Shrine of Kutani settlement. The light is made of mousou bamboo, rough woods and deadwoods collected in the mountain behind the shrine. Plus, the local people bring paddy straws and soybean sprigs and put them inside the light. This festival is believed to worship Atago-jinja Shrine, a god of fire prevention of Kyoto.
Making Of Shimenawa (Sacred Straw)
A group of Yakuoji residents have made New Year’s decorations from Japanese cedar grown there to dedicate to Ikuta-jinja Shrine in Kobe since 2007. They have also made shimenawa (sacred straw) by request from the shrine since 2012. The largest shimenawa, which has a total length of five meters and a diameter of 22 centimeters, is adorned at the front shrine.
For details of Oikube Byobu-jinja Shrine, please see “What To See In Takahashi District”.