Kurama Yama (Mt. Kurama) and
Kurama Dera (Kurama Temple)
Mt. Kurama is located twelve kilometers
north of Kyoto. It has become an important mountain after the
monk Gantei, a disciple of Ganjin, founded the temple in 770
and enshrined Bishamon-ten there. Bishamon-ten was regarded as
a powerful protector of the capital, defending it from evil coming
from the north. However, the mountain is more famous for its
legendary Kurama Tengu, a human-like creatures with red faces
and big noses who were highly proficient in martial disciplines.
In the twelve century Ushiwaka-maru
was sent to Kurama temple to become a monk after his Minamoto
clan was defeated by the Taira clan. The leader of the Taira
clan, Taira no Kiyomori, ordered that the young Ushiwaka-maru
be sent to Kurama temple and educated as a monk so that he will
not pose a threat to the Taira later. Ushiwaka-maru, although
spending time learning the Buddhist scriptures, also learned
various martial skills. The legends say that he used to meet
with the King Tengu of Kurama, and learned swordsmanship and
had acquired unusual skills. According to these legends, the
young warrior who received the adult name of Yoshitsune,s also
mastered military strategy, which later helped him defeat the
Taira clan and its supporters in the Genpei War (1180-85). The
details of Minamoto no Yoshitsune's life on Mt. Kurama will always
remain a legend because the sources for that period are highly
unreliable, his mastery of military strategy and his tactics,
as well as his ability to lead large forces, are evident in reliable
sources of the Genpei War.
In any case, Mt. Kurama is considered
a mystical mountain on which the spirit of the Kurama Tengu,
Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Bishamon-ten and Mao-son still linger.
(Gate of the Guardians) at the
entrance to Kurama temple. From here it takes a few minutes to
reach the cable car that goes up to the temple.
Below is the path leading to the temple.
no Yoshitsune Hall
Minamoto no Yoshitsune Hall is located
some distance away from the Kurama temple, deep in the mountains
above the temple. It is believed that Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune)
used to practice martial disciplines in the place where the Hall
now stands. There is no evidence that this is indeed the place,
but the small flat area near the hall is certainly one of the
only flat surface areas near the temple, which would make it
convenient for training.
Fudo-do (Fudo Hall)
Fudo Hall is just adjacent to Minamoto no Yoshitsune Hall. As
its name indicates, it enshrines the image of Fudo-myo O.
A view of the mountains surrounding
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