Mount Hiko ("Hikosan" in Japanese) is a mountain located on the border
between Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures.
It is located about 60 km south of Kitakyushu city.
In ancient Japan the mountains were worshipped as Shinto gods.
From the 8th century, people started to enter the mountains to undergo training there, and in the 9-10th centuries, when it was influenced by esoteric Buddhism, the training started to be called shugendo.
The priests of Shugendo lived in the mountain to train, and the priests
in Hikosan trained some military arts, too.
So the group of Hikosan's priests became a large army in the Middle Ages.
But they were involved into the battle between the two Domains in Fukuoka Prefecture, then many of them were killed.
Since that, Shugendo in Hikosan has declined.
The height of Mount Hiko is 1,200 meters, and there is Hikosan Shrine
on the western mountainside at the level of around 500 meters.
The shrine has existed since the ancient times.
At the foot of the mountain, there is "Kane-no-Torii" made of bronze.
It was built in 1637.
It is designated as a national important cultural property. From here, the approach about 1 km long climbs the slope.
In 2005, Slope car like small monorail has been set up along the approach. When you want to climb easily, get on the car. It runs through a flower garden, and takes about 15 minutes.
Most of the visitors by car go to the middle pont of the approach.
A parking lot and some shops are there, and the route bus comes here. (Jingu-shita stop)
At the end of the approach, there is "Houheiden" shrine.
It was rebuilt in 1616. Originally, the building was the hall of a Buddhist temple for Shugendo priests.
It is also designated as a national important cultural property.
Near the top of Mount Hiko, there is Shogu shrine at the level of 1,188
meters. It is the main shrine of Hikosan Shrine.
From Houheiden to here, the distance is about 2 km, and we must climb the difference in height of about 700 meters.
So when you visit here, you had better dress like a hiker.