Updated: Sep 26, 2021
The Maruyama kofun tomb marks the burial place of 4th century Crown Prince Uji no Wakiiratsuko. So why is there a tombstone for the man at the top of Mount Asahi in Uji.
Kosho-ji Temple sits just back from the east bank of Uji River, and has been situated in this place since the early 17th century when Naomass Nagai, the Lord of Yodo Castle, had it relocated here from Fukakusa. Famous for its excellently tended garden and the autumn foliage that forms a tunnel along the pathway leading up to the temple entrance, there is a pathway that begins at the base of the mountain behind the temple.
On this mountain, Asahiyama, it is said was a fortification though it is not known when it was built or its history that followed. The pathway, a hiking trail, leads up the mountain through stunning scenes of woodland nature. There are other paths leading off, including one leading towards Kisenyama, but follow the main trail and after a while you will find yourself climbing a narrow winding rock route up to a small plateau top.
From here you will find a number of mounds made from piled up small rock, a tall stone pagoda (said to have been erected by Naomasa Nagai). But most interesting is a tombstone that is said to be that of Crown Prince Uji no Wakiiratsuko (Wakiroko). Could this be the burial place. There is another burial mound for Uji no Wakiiratsuko near Uji Keihan station about 1.5km away, so which location is the real one?! Or are neither the real site, are they both just symbolic?
The story told of Crown Prince Uji no Wakiiratsuko is that he committed suicide by throwing himself into the Uji River so that his half brother, Prince Nintoku, could take the throne and become the 16th Emperor instead of him.
Another folktale story connected to Uji no Wakiiratsuko tells that once when finding himself lost he was guided back to town by a rabbit. The rabbit is said to have led the way whilst constantly looking back to check that the Crown Prince was following. And because of that story you will find rabbit charms at the Ujigami jinja at the base of Mount Daikichi (one of the mountains next to Mount Asahi), and around Uji.
For further details on the hiking trail of Mount Asahi view the video on the HIDDEN PATHS - Walking Historical Kyoto Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GPRcrcI7IM
For HIDDEN PATHS books go to https://www.amazon.co.jp/s?k=HIDDEN+PATHS+Walking+Historical+Kyoto&ref=nb_sb_noss
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