An interesting location on one of the best short hikes in Kyoto that very few visit. The Kamo no Chomei Rock at Hino.
Hiking from Hino to Daigo is a medium length (around 6 to 8km depending on which way you go) but challenging at times hike. The scenery is stunning from start to finish, and especially at the top of Hinokitayama, the view from the 'Panoramic Rock' is breathtaking. There are also the remains of a WWII spotlight post on the mountain at the ominously named Yurei Pass (the 'GHOST PASS', which we'll cover in a future post).
In this post we'll look at Kamo no Chomei and where he is said to have lived out his final years at the base of the mountain.
Kamo no Chōmei (1153 or 1155–1216) was an author, a waka poet, and an essayist. Coming from an influential Kyoto family, Kamo no Chomei would ultimately decide to turn his back on society, took up Buddhist vows, and became a hermit. First he spent a few years living on Mount Hiei in north Kyoto but dissatisfied there he moved south east to Hino. Just 250m in from the start of the hiking route is a huge rock by a stream (pictured above right a signpost, near the start of the hiking route, giving directions to the Kamo no Chomei Rock). This is the Kamo no Chomei Rock (pic below). The story is that Kamo no Chomei finished his life living in a small wooden hut by this rock. A small monument has been put in place at the top of the rock and it is a perfect place to sit and rest for a few moments by the running water. Pictured below is the Kamo no Chomei rock.
Pictured right, the monument in place at the top of the rock offering some details of the hermit and also, importantly, letting you know that you are in the right place!
Born Kamo no Nagaakira, he was the second son of Kamo no Nagatsugu, sho-negi or superintendent, of the Lower Kamo (today's Shimogamo) shrine. He studied poetry and music form a young age, and lived comfortable. At the time, the Kamo Shrines owned large amounts of property around the Kamo River in Kyoto, and held great power and prestige among the aristocracy.
In 1160, Chomei's father was promoted to junior fourth rank, lower grade, which promoted the young Chomei to fifth rank, junior grade. Ill health and political maneuvering would though lead to his fahther's retirement in 1169, and in the early 1170's the elder Kamo died. Expecting to fill the vacant role left by his father, Chomei, then in his late teens, was passed over, and instead his cousin was promoted to this position. This seems to have been the catalyst for his reclusive future.
Pictured right, a part of the hiking route, in winter, from Hino to Daigo. More posts covering different parts of the whole hiking route will be coming soon.
You can also find a video below covering some of the locations on the moutain.
Please be aware when hiking this route that there has been typhoon damage in recent years, some of which has not been cleared. There are also fallen rotten trees. In some parts moss on rocks can be slippery. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear when walking.
It is important also to be aware that this is a wildlife habitat. You will see signs of deer and wild boar (inoshishi) by dug up ground and footprints but you are unlikely to see them. That is not to say that you won't! If you do see wild animals do not approach them. Keep your distance.
For further information on this route or any questions please contact HIDDEN PATHS via the contact page on this site.