Mountain & Nature Worship
Nature worship has always played an important role in Japanese culture. Stemming from Japan’s native religion of Shintoism, natural features including mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and many trees and stones have long been seen as sacred and imbued with a divine nature
Japanese folklore tells that mountains are the source of human souls; born atop the mountain and flowing down rivers to bring life and prosperity of the human world below. As the domain of the gods, mountains have long been revered and also feared in Japan – places where only ascetics or the most hardened, wild people would venture.
As such, Japan’s Shinto faith has given rise to sects devoted to specific mountains with several peaks continuing to act as beacons of pilgrimage for devotees. Along many trails, you will encounter shrines and temples dedicated to ‘kami’ (divine spirits) and Buddhist ‘bosatsu’ (enlightened beings), who oversee the safety of your journey and honour the mountain gods.
Whether or not you put much stock in such beliefs, Japan’s mountain worship imbues even the most leisurely of alpine strolls with serenity and a release for worldly concerns as you move through pristine nature and deep into the heart of Japan.