Situated deep in the mountains is of one Japan's and Nara's oldest shrines. Founded in the eight century and built by the monk Jo'e (643 – 666). Jo'e was the oldest son of Fujiwara no Kamatari (614 – 669), founder of the Fujiwara clan and the seat of the Fujiwara clan. It is a little difficult to reach but when you do there is fantastic scenery to enjoy. Some of its pavilions are very old and bear the mark of old age.
There are two entrances; one a steep stairway of 140 steps to a Shinto shrine, famous for its splendid view during the momiji season. The small balcony of this shrine is lined with lanterns and maple trees all around. The other entrance is less spectacular as far as steps are concerned, but the two pavilions that are at its entrance are well worth the view.
In between these two buildings is a small waterfall that adds to the serenity of the place. Next to these pavilions is a small open area flanked by two more pavilions, one of which has a memorial statue to xxxxxx and the other is a small museum with different portraits of xxxxxx. At the end of this small open area you will find some steps leading up to another pavilion and what impressed me the most was the view of the majestic 13 story pagoda in bright red vermillion, flanked on all sides by maple trees.
After climbing the steps and turning to the right there are more steps leading up to the main Shinto shrine. This is where the famous balcony with the lanterns is. Inside the hall is a small museum, a fairly large tatami room with artefacts from a bygone era. It's also a comfy place to take a rest and take in the quietness of the mountain and listen to the birds and the sounds of the forest.
On the day I was there a craftsman was replacing the outer mats of the main Hondo. I was lucky to be able to take a photo of these brand new mats. By the entrance of this shrine is a small gift shop for lucky charms.