Located to the south of the Ishikawa Prefecture in the Kaga region, Natadera Temple is an ancient temple that is dedicated to nature and Mount Hakusan, one of the 3 most sacred mountains in Japan. Established in 717 during the Nara period, Natadera is over 1300 years old and is famous for the rocky hills and caves that make up part of its grounds. The cliffside caves are said to be remains of ancient volcanic eruptions, and have hand-cut meditation rooms and stairs incorporated as part of the main temple. The caves were visited by the ancient poet, Matsuo, whose haiku poem can still be read there, today. It was believed that walking through the caves can purify those who have sinned, like emerging from a womb reborn. The grounds of Natadera are stunning with cedar trees and camellia flowers, a number of festivals are held here and it’s a spectacular spot for viewing red leaves in the fall. Surrounded by Kaga’s many onsen towns, namely Awazu Onsen, Natadera is a cleansing place for worship. With many parts of the temple designated as important cultural assets of Ishikawa Prefecture, the grounds of Natadera have been awarded a Michelin Green Guide star for its awe-inspiring natural beauty.
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