2 to 3 hours
Founded over one thousand years ago in 860, ‘Yamadera’ (lit. mountain temple) is a picturesque temple complex located high up on a steep mountainside. The view from the pagoda of ‘Risshakuji’ temple at the very top is breathtaking, looking out over the neighbouring mountains and village.
On this tour, experience the serenity of Yamadera all to yourself! Visit early in the morning when the air is fresh and the staircase devoid of crowds! Climb the 1000 stone steps to the top of the temple complex and reward yourself with a delicious breakfast of ‘onigiri’ rice balls made from local rice as you take in the panoramic views. Test your foodie skills by comparing to brands of local rice ‘Tsuyahime’ (lit. ‘shining princess’) and ‘Yukiwakamuru’ (lit. ‘young samurai of the snow’).
After breakfast, choose to stay back and explore the temple area and surrounding nature, or if staying at nearby Tendo Onsen, head back to your lodging in time for the breakfast buffet (who doesn’t like second breakfast?).
Please note this tour involves a fair amount of physical activity! Come ready for some exercise and wear comfortable shoes/clothing for hiking.
Meet your guide in front of the large stained glass windows on the 2F of JR Sendai Station.
Board a local train on the JR Senzan Line, arriving at Yamadera at 7:16 am.
Tour officially starts from Yamadera Station!
Stop by a local shop and charge-up on local street-food specialty ‘Tama-konyaku’ (made from Konjac potato – calorie free!!)
Enter the ‘Risshakuji’ Temple complex. Usually, the temple grounds are open from 08:00, but on this tour you can enjoy special access from 7am. Enjoy the serenity and fresh mountain air all to yourself!
Start the climb up 1000 stone steps!!
Once at the top, reward your tired legs with a sit down, looking out over the incredible view!
After working up an appetite, it’s time for a tasty local breakfast of ‘onigiri’ rice balls made from local rice.
Taste the difference between two different well-loved brands of rice, ‘Tsuyahime’ (lit. shining princess) and ‘Yukiwakamaru’ (lit. young samurai of the snow).
Tsuyahime rice is known for its excellent flavour and sweetness, delicious even when cool! ‘Yukiwakamaru’ is known for its unprecedented new flavour that is the perfect balance of stickiness and firm rice.
Which is your favourite? You know you’ve officially become a local when you can differentiate between two brands of rice!!
Tour ends after breakfast! As soon as you’re finished your rice-balls, you are free to continue to explore the area or continue on to your next adventure.