In Japan we have had faith in mountains since ancient times.
The Hakusan belief is one such faith. Mt. Hakusan which straddles Ishikawa and Gifu prefectures is one of the three mountains in Japan - together with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama - which are considered “holy” in Japanese tradition.
The mountain's main peak, Gozengamine, is 2702 meters high.
Being covered with permanent snow on the top even in summer,the graceful Mt. Hakusan exudes a sense of exalted grace and nobility.
As such, it is perhaps natural that people have regarded it as an object of holy veneration and a domain of deities since ancient times.
Especially around Kamakura and Muromachi periods （12th – 16th century）, Mt. Hakusan was at its peak of popularity.
Many pilgrims from all over Japan made the pilgrimage to climb Mt. Hakusan.
The site was normally so crowded with pilgrims that it gave rise to a popular Japanese expression, still extant, which goes“ A thousand people climbing, a thousand people coming down, and a thousand people gathered at the foot of the mountain”.
The main pilgrimage site was the Hakusan Okunomiya Shrine at the mountain's summit, where pilgrims bowed and prayed before the sunrise.
In the precincts of the shrine, there stand many big cedar trees over a thousand years old, which add a sense of majesty and tranquility to the atmosphere of the site.
Nagataki-Hakusan Shrine and Choryu Temple in Shirotori-cho are also historically significant sites in the area .
In the nearby Wakamiya-Shukokan Museum and Hakusan Cultural Museum, you can view a large number of Buddhist statues and other works of art related to the Hakusan belief and culture.
At the starting point for a climb,there is a cedar tree called the “Itoshiro Big Cedar Tree”, which overwhelms all who regard its majesty.
Its circumference is about 13 meters, and it is estimated that it is some 1,800 years old.
This stately grand tree evokes a feeling of awe in those who encounter it .