Sacred mountain Hakusan and the foot of a mountain
- Sacred Peak of Hakusan
Shirayama Hime Jinja
Sacred Peak of HakusanCastle Town of KanazawaLying virtually in the middle of the Japanese archipelago, and covered by snow for most of the year, Hakusan has long been venerated as a Goddess of Water. A single drop from the snow-filled gorges, which do not melt away even in mid summer, gives life to the flower pastures and the primeval forests of massive beech trees above the clouds, and eventually it forms part of the great Tedori (Ishikawa), Kuzuryu (Fukui), Nagara (Gifu), or Sho (Toyama) rivers, watering a long area across the Japanese archipelago, and supporting human life.
In 1962, the mountain was designated as Hakusan National Park, spreading across the four prefectures of Ishikawa, Fukui, Toyama, and Gifu, and in addition to being recognised by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and being a UN Biosphere Reserve, it is also a reserve for the protection of deer and the forest ecology.
Legend has it that in the Nara Period, some 1300 years ago, the priest Taicho from the province of Echizen first climbed the mountain, and laid the foundations for Hakusan worship. Even today, nearly 3,000 Hakusan shrines cover the country, showing how this faith has spread.
In the middle of the Heian Period, some 1200 years ago, temples were founded in the three provinces of Kaga, Echizen, and Mino, forming bases for the faith known as “bamba,” and the climbing path for the faithful from the bamba to the peak of Hakusan is known as the “zenjodo.”
The peoples of the Hakusan foothills have long looked up at the White Mountain, and lived together with it. The unique lifestyles and traditional arts shared by the Kaga, Echizen, and Mino regions, and its scenery, have been formed from the age-old history and nature, and survive to this day.