Mount Shosha Engyoji Temple

Mount Shosha (書写 山) is home to the Engyoji Temple 円 教 寺, a temple that is more than 1000 years old. Shosha is located just outside of Himeji city, and it's all the effort to get there - first by bus, then by ropeway. Yes, the mountain is only accessible via the ropeway, and that in itself is a fantastic experience. The actual rise of the mountain side lasts approx. 5 - 10 min. From start to finish, I would like to emphasize that this is one of the most beautiful places I have been! 

Starting from the ropeways arrival point, a longer hike starts up the mountain and around the mountain. From the start of the trip there are experiences for body and mind. Take a hiking trail at the cable car and set yourself on an authentic and enriching day on the mountain. The many buildings of the temple are spread over a dense forest area. All buildings are standalone a great experience, one is sobered by the ceremony, of the impressive and detailed constructions of the buildings - you can hardly dwell on them all. Running on your hike, you meet many beautiful - and many recognizable - statues of gods from primarily Buddhist faith. 
Throughout the years, Shosha has been used for filming and documentaries about Japan and temples in general. There has even been a huge Hollywood production from here: The Hollywood movie "The Last Samurai" was partially filmed on the mountain. The mountain is full of tradition, history and nature, and an almost absolute absence of modern life. 
The mountain is often visited by pilgrims as it is part of the official pilgrimage trail in Japan. Here pilgrimage wanders from temple to temple, and includes registered their visit to the site by a monk stamping their pilgrimage book. Actually, something quite special to see that a pilgrim reached another temple on his way. 

A very personal experience on Shosha

During my girlfriend's and my visit to the mountain, we found a small homemade wallet containing a cell phone, a lot of cash and other personal belongings. Since we don't speak or read Japanese, there was no on in sight, we went back down again. Suddenly the phone rang and the owner of the wallet was at the other end. His english was very poor and with the help of friends who could remember some Japanese sentences from our course (before departure), agreed with the husband that we would meet at the entrance. 
When we met with the man he was grateful beyond all limits. He bent and bowed and insisted that we should have only 20,000 YEN as a payroll (1100 kr). "No thanks"; we answered. Then we had 10,000 yen, then 5000. Eventually, he acknowledged that we did not want anything else than returning his stuff. We left him and he bowed again 
When we had to jump on the cable car, the strange man stormed and handed my girlfriend the scrotum - the scrotum we had found. So instead of money, she got the wallet. The homemade, hand-sewn, pretty beautiful wallet. This happened in 2015. She still has it, she has used it every single day - and it has been much more worth for her than any money could have been.

Roland Vogt