Awarded one star by the
Michelin Green Guide
A 45 minute wander through the lush mountain forest of Mount Daishi
The hidden gem of a hike through the lush forests of Kinosaki Onsen’s Mount Daishi is 45 minutes one way, beginning at the foot of the Kinosaki Ropeway, passing by Onsenji Temple, and concluding at Mount Daishi’s summit. Due to the steep terrain on the ancient stone staircases lining the path, some hikers prefer to ascend Mount Daishi via the Kinosaki Ropeway and only hike the descending path.
From Onsenji Temple's Yakushido Hall
Before any fun and safe hike up Mount Daishi can start, however, preparations must be made.
It is highly encouraged to purchase drinks and energy snacks before your hike. There are no vending machines on the trail!
Summertime hikers are also encouraged to consider bringing hats and extra sunscreen.
To the right of the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway staircase lies the entrance to Yakushido Hall, Onsenji Temple’s entrance point. Yakushido Hall marks the beginning of the hiking trail, and is also a wonderful spot to say a prayer for safe climbing before a hiking adventure.
The mossy stone steps lining the ascend to Onsenji Temple seamlessly flow and ebb with the waves of ethereal tree branches, rocks, and other forest dwellers. Multiple stone guardian statues, referred to as Jizo statues in Japanese, accompany hikers up this first half of the voyage. Benches are waiting for weary travelers to rest their feet at various points alongside the steps, allowing a moment of repose for hikers amongst the leafy canopy of forest verdure.
The main building of Onsenji Temple greets hikers who have successfully completed the first half of their climb. In addition to the main building of the temple, the Kinosaki Museum of Art (a museum housing a curated collection of cultural relics pertinent to Kinosaki Onsen’s history) and additional structures stand proudly for visitors to appreciate. One of these architectural treasures is a bell tower where visitors can ring the bell for good fortune.
A visit to the main building of Onsenji Temple is a must during any climb up Mount Daishi. With local staff, guests can tour the ancient building with the help of an English-language pamphlet complete with in-depth explanations about the temple’s history, artifacts, and Japanese National Cultural Treasures.
The journey up Mount Daishi continues past Onsenji Temple on another well-traveled set of stairs.
While still a historically well-traveled path, the second half of the hiking course presents hikers with steeper slopes, uneven steps, and winding tree roots popping up from the ground.
Hikers with time on their side will receive the lucky view of a ropeway gondola passing overhead. Ropeway staff and passengers alike will be happy to send over a wave!
After passing the ropeway clearing, a small bridge hopping over a brook will come into view. The area is also dotted with Jizo statues resembling those of the first half of the hike, and they are part of an 88 Stone Buddha Passage located in Kinosaki Onsen, a local version of the nationally known Shikoku Pilgrimage. Some Jizo statues will be found adorned with hats and bibs, symbolizing their duties as guardians of deceased children.
Travelers are encouraged to respect the sanctity of this sacred spot while praying for their own safe travels, health, and so on.
In addition to the wonderful bout of exercise, the view from the top of Mount Daishi is an award in and of itself for any hiker. Enjoy the Michelin-rated view of Kinosaki Onsen below before resting at the summit cafe for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.