奇岩遊仙境

Kigan Yusenkyo


Useful Information

Location: 122 Yu, Natamachi, Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture 923-0336.
(36.312042, 136.420731)
Open: All year daily 9:15-16.
Kigan Yusenkyo Experience: APR to SEP weekdays 8:30.
[2022]
Fee: Adults JPY 600, Children (6-11) JPY 300, Children (0-5) free, Disabled JPY 300.
Groups (30+): Adults JPY 550, Children (6-11) JPY 250.
Groups (30+): Adults JPY 500, Children (6-11) JPY 200.
Kigan Yusenkyo Experience: Adults JPY 2,000.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=1 h, Max=10.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Kigan Yusenkyo, Natadera, 122 Yu, Natamachi, Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture 923-0336, Tel: +81-761-65-2111, Fax: +81-761-65-1626.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

717 monk Taicho climbs Mt. Hakusan and builds Iwaya-dera Temple.
986 temple renamed Natadera by the retired Emperor Kazan, who stayed here, built new temple buildings and made the temple prosper.
1640 reconstructed by Maeda Toshitsune, the third lord of the Kaga Domain.
2014 rocks designated a national scenic spot "Landscape of Oku no Hosodo".

Description

奇岩遊仙境 (Kigan Yusenkyo) is a group of rocks located on the premises of Natadera Temple. The つ那谷寺 (Tsu natadera, Natadera Temple) is open all year daily for worship. But the tour of the rocks with the caves is offered only on weekdays during summer once in the morning, the group size is restricted to 10 persons. It is called 奇岩遊仙境への径 (Kigan'yūsenkyō e no Wataru, Kigan Yusenkyo Experience). Participants get a white robe called oizuru and climb the rocks with a guide.

The location of the Natadera Temple is considered a sacred place since Prehistory. Archaeological remains suggest that it was used during the Jomon (14,000–300 BC) and Yayoi (300 BC to 250) eras as a place of worship. However, the theory that the people of the Jomon period believed in reincarnation and that the caves at Natadera Temple were "compared to wombs of mothers and considered to be the places of Umarekiyomaru, the cycle of death, purification, and rebirth," which is obviously over-interpretation based on modern religion. Actually nobody knows if "people believed that, by passing through these caves, spirits could be cleansed of the sins of this world to be born again from their mothers’ wombs, and they would then pray for a fresh start." Natadera Temple offers the ceremony of Iwaya-tainai-kuguri (“passing through the cave-wombs”), and is known as a sacred place for Umarekiyomaru.

Ishiyama no ishi yori shiroshi aki no kaze
The autumn wind is whiter than the white cliffs of the stony mountain
Matsuo Basho, during the Edo era (1603–1868)

The great monk and mountaineer Taicho built Natadera Temple in 717 and named it Iwaya-dera Temple because of the natural caves. He climbed Mt. Hakusan in the same year, which is considered one of the three holy mountains of Japan, along with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama. Mt. Hakusan is said to be the place where all souls go after death to be purified and become white before being reborn. This is the background of the Iwaya-tainai-kuguri ceremony.

The cave has been called Iwaya and has been used as a residence. It is a place of death and burial, but also an entrance to the other world.

A number of caves open in the towering rock which was the result of a submarine eruption. For many years it was washed by the wind and waves to form the present-day strange rocks. The caves are rather low but wide ledges in the cliff face, at various levels. They were probably created in several stages, interrupted ba phases of uplift. The surrounding coastal plain is today about 33 m asl, the rocks are about 20 m high. The caves are connected by stairs which were hewn into the rock. Some pages tell about closure due to rockfall, before you go you should check the current state.