Morning trip to Yagyu / Itto-seki and Hōtokuji
This past Friday we decided to take a bus tour to Yagyu, in Nara prefecture. I have been to this area before, but it was nice to join a tour to learn a bit more of the history and sites that are in this area. Fortunately the spring like weather had arrived as well! Yagyu is famously known for a man who lived there named Yagyu Munetoshi. He was a samurai during Japan’s Sengoku period and was most famous for having mastered the Shinkage-ryū school of combat, and introducing it to the Tokugawa clan
Our first stop along the way was Itto-Seki, which is a massive rock that measures roughly 7m in all directions. It is said that Muneyoshi Sekishusai Yagyu thought the stone was a long-nosed goblin called Tengu and tried to cut it with a single sweep.The Tengu disappeared, but the stone which split in two remained.
The walk to Itto-seki
Massive stones at the entrance
Tree Root Trail
After visiting Itto-seki we walked a trail which led us to Hōtokuji which is located on a hill overlooking the Yagyu district. Following the death of Yagyū Munetoshi, his son Munenori, took possession of the family property in Yagyū Village, and ordered that Hōtokuji Temple be built in Munetoshi’s honor. The original temple was built in 1638, but was burned and then rebuilt a few times, with the final main hall erected during the Meiji era.
Main Hall of Hōtokuji