Explore Holy Mt. Horaiji

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7 hours
Min Age : 10+
Max People : 10
Your Experience at a Glance

Join us and uncover Mt. Horaiji’s rich 1,300+ years of history, stunning natural scenery, and spiritual significance. This captivating journey combines cultural exploration with a moderate walk (going down the third-largest staircase in Japan, instead of up!).

Experience Price

Up to 2 people: 30,000 yen

3 or more people: 30,000 yen + 1,000 yen/person for the third and extra guests

Experience Type

Private Experience

Meeting Location

Toyohashi Station, Toyohashi, Aichi (Google Maps)

End Location

Hon-Nagashino Station, Shinshiro, Aichi (Google Maps)

Start Time and Duration

10:00 ~ 17:20 (7 hours)

Languages Offered

English, Japanese

Language Proficiency

English: Native ★★★★★
Japanese: Native ★★★★★

Price Includes

  • Private tour guide
  • One bento box lunch per person

Price Excludes

  • Transportation to and from the meeting point
  • Train and bus fares (normally around ¥3500 per person)
  • Drinks and water (the tour area has vending machines and some access to drinking water)
  • Luggage storage (it's best to send luggage to your next hotel, or Toyohashi Station has some coin lockers)

Additional Information

  • If you have any food allergies please let us know at the time of your booking
  • Not accessible for strollers and wheelchairs
  • Guests will need:
  • A reasonable level of fitness (for example the ability to walk uphill for 10 minutes without feeling sick or light headed)
  • Confidence/ability to walk on forest trails and many uneven, hand-carved steps - if you have a bad ankle/knee/back it's best not to do the tour
  • Shoes suitable for walking - preferably hiking shoes or shoes with some grip. In wet weather, we skip one location and walk more carefully, but the steps can still be quite slippery.
  • A hat, and preferably a sun shirt, sunglasses, and sunscreen - especially in warm months. We walk through the forest but there is still a chance of being sunburned. We provide insect repellent in warmer months.
  • A water bottle (even a reused drink bottle) - in the climb down the mountain we will not have access to a vending machine or drinking tap.
  • Sufficient travel insurance for this type of activity - please make sure hiking-style tours are covered.
What You'll Do

After meeting at Toyohashi Station we will take an express train towards Mt. Horaiji, passing charming Japanese countryside “inaka” scenery on the way. From the train station next to Mt. Horaiji, we take a bus up the mountain.

We start the tour by exploring the rocky Gyoshagoe cliff and its views from the top. Then we’ll explore the incredible shrine devoted to one of Japan’s most powerful samurai, and after this we’ll enjoy a delicious bento lunch made by a local restaurant, eating and marveling at the views. After this, we visit an amazing viewpoint higher up the mountain before going down the famous stone steps, including a detour through centuries-old Buddhist stone monuments and statues.

On Saturday tours we visit the beautiful river nearby instead of the higher viewpoint because of public transport timetables. Please note that on cloudy days or days with light rain, the mountain still has an amazing atmosphere, but due to the need for extra caution while descending the steps, we cannot visit the higher viewpoint.

Join us on an adventure of cultural discovery and natural exploration, where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the spiritual essence of Mt Horaiji. Come along and create lasting memories as we explore this remarkable mountain, covering approximately 6-7 kilometers on foot. Please note: a basic level of fitness is needed for this tour, as we will be walking and climbing down a long staircase, with breaks.

  • Explore the historical significance of Mt. Horaiji, with its 1,300+ years of Buddhist heritage.
  • Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the landscapes and views from the trails and lookouts.
  • Enjoy a delicious bento lunch from a local restaurant, while enjoying panoramic views from near the main temple.
  • Visit the remarkable shrine, itself steeped in over 300 years of history and cultural significance.
  • Discover the essence of Mt Horaiji through a captivating journey of cultural exploration and natural beauty.
  • An easier way to explore Mt. Horaiji’s ancient 1,400+ stone steps - going down instead of up!
Your Experience Step by Step

1. Meet at Toyohashi Station

We will meet you before 10 am, to help you buy a limited express train ticket to Yuyaonsen Station (next to Mt. Horaiji).

2. Visit Gyoshagoe

From the top there are amazing views, and we will tell you about the history of the more quiet side of the mountain while we snack on onigiris.

3. Visit Horai Toushougu Shrine

We’ll walk around the shrine and see its intricate painting and decoration while taking in the incredible atmosphere.

4. Lunch with a view at the Horaiji Temple Hondo

We’ll look out over the view while eating our bento.

5.Visit Takauchiba Lookout

After a walk through the forest, feel like you’re walking on air from this rocky viewpoint where samurai used to hunt hawks and practice falconry.

6.See the temple grounds under the "mirror rock" cliff

We will walk through the temple grounds and enter a place with Buddhist monuments and sacred spaces from hundreds and hundreds of years of monks living and praying on the mountain.

7.Descend the famous hand-carved stone steps

Much easier than climbing up, we will go down the steps, and see the spiritually and culturally significant landmarks on the way.

8.Walk through the old temple town

See the charming and historical small village nested in the valley below Mt Horaiji.

9. Bus to Hon-Nagashino Station where the tour ends

We help you to get the train back to Toyohashi Station for the Shinkansen.

Where You'll Be
Meet Your Host

Yuko and Alex Balson

We are an Australian/Japanese couple that has loved this part of Japan for a long time. In 2023 we were able to buy our dream house not far from Mt. Horaiji, and we’ve made it our mission to spread our love for this incredible place and its stories as much as we can. Mt. Horaiji and this area deserve much more attention, and the local history needs to be preserved!

With both of us guiding you, we offer both native-level English and Japanese, which is useful when talking about the complicated cultural history of Japan.

We can’t wait to share this place with you!

Your Experience in Pictures

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