Sanbutsuji Temple (Nageiredo Hall)
Rise to the challenge for a once-in-a-lifetime hike on Japan’s most perilous trail with unbelievable views.By Lilly Seiler
Nageiredo Hall is coined as Japan’s most hazardous national treasure. It is a wooden hall perched high on the cliffside of Mount Mitoku in Tottori prefecture. This structural wonder clings to the rocky cliff edge above the ravine beneath, which gives off an illusion that defies the laws of physics. Nageiredo Hall is a part of Sanbutsuji Temple and has been in existence for more than a thousand years, rightfully earning its place as a National Treasure of Japan.
The title “Nageiredo” makes much more sense upon seeing the hall. There is a theory that someone long ago with supernatural powers essentially flung the hall up into place on the cliff, which coincidentally is the meaning behind the word “Nageiredo.”
Hiking to Nageiredo
The remote and mysterious Buddhist refuge offers a genuine look into the region’s cultural and theological foundations. Brave travelers can experience the beauty and wonder of Sanbutsuji Temple and the Nageiredo Hall in person. There is a catch, however. You must undergo a heart-pounding test of tenacity and fortitude by hiking a difficult and challenging trail known for being risky and dangerous.
When visiting Nageiredo, there are several restrictions and requirements. The sharp climb becomes hazardous under icy and wet conditions, so the path will be closed and prohibited to climb generally from December to March. It is important to wear appropriate apparel during hiking season, but the most crucial is what you decide to wear on your feet.
Your footwear will be closely inspected before being permitted to hike the trail. If they are unfortunately deemed unfit, you still have one last option. You will need to purchase a set of the monks’ traditional climbing sandals. They don’t look very comfortable or convincing at first sight, but they are durable and ideal for the journey. If a monk can climb the trail in them, surely you can too!
Best in autumn
During the autumn leaf season, the hiking trail to Sanbutsuji Temple and Nageiredo Hall is spectacular. The arduous task of trekking uneven stone stairs and climbing up thick tree roots on your hands and feet is worth it when surrounded by a red, orange and yellow sea. When you make it to Sanbutsuji Temple, you get to stare in awe at a panoramic view of the fall foliage as you grip the floor beneath, as there are no barriers between you and the trees in the valley below.