〒418-0102 Shizuoka, Fujinomiya, Hitoana, 206
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Byron Earhart (1989):
Mount Fuji and Shugendo,
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies (1989): 205-226.
|Address:||人穴富士講遺跡, 〒418-0102 Shizuoka, Fujinomiya, Hitoana, 206, Tel: +81-544-52-1620.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|16th or 17th century||Hasegawa Kakugyo disappears because he transcended to Nirvana.|
|2013||inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.|
人穴 (Hito Cave) is actually not open to the public as it is a sacred site where on rare occasions Fuji-ko believers are praying. The site is actually called 人穴富士講遺跡 (Man'ana Fuji-kou Ruins) or simply Hitoanasengen Shrine. Nevertheless, it is a tourist destination, as it is located on the grounds of an ancient temple, with a cave as central location. What you can see is a collapse doline with the cave entrance, which is surrounded by stone sculptures and wooden pagodas.
Hitoana cave is one of the most famous of the meditation caves around Mount Fuji. According to the beliefs it is where Sengen Daibosatsu, the mountain goddess of Fuji, lives. The legend tells that the founder of Fuji-kō, Hasegawa Kakugyo, entered this cave to practice ascetics and meditation. He disappeared because he transcended to Nirvana. The cave entrance is surrounded by 230 stone monuments, which were built to pray and pay homage to Kakugyo. They were built by different sects of Fuji-ko, and they are also marked on the map.
Shugendō is the practice of mountain ascetics in Japan. While similar to Christian hermits in many aspects, it can be seen as a mix of Buddhist, Daoist, and Shinto practices. There are many stories from the 8th and 9th centuries which establish the mountain Fujisan no, as a god, or kami, and as a sacred place for elite practitioners. One of these stories involves En no Ozunu, a Buddhist ascetic, who is the founder of Shugendō. En no Ozunu told Murayama that it was his duty to bring peace and success to war-torn Japan. He could do this by practicing ascetics in the Hitoana cave. Through ascetic practices and pilgrimage, the order of the universe could be restored.
We were not really sure if we should list this site as a UNESCO WHL site. The listing is actually for the whole Mount Fuji, which includes a multitude of religious sites on its flanks. This is one of them. Quite nice for a WHL site: there is a parking lot, the trails are maintained, but there are neither open hours nor fees. It is an operating temple, and it is thus freely accessible. Be respectful.