Yamadera is a picturesque mountain landscape Temple. It is one of the most visited Buddhist sites in all of Japan by spiritual leaders and curious travelers alike. It’s so beautiful that it may be tempting to take pictures at every turn! There are countless statues of monks and other Buddhist figures, including the famous poet Matsuo Basho. He wrote many poems about Yamadera, and there is even a Matsuo Basho Museum in the area. There are signs along the trail (written in Japanese) that encourage hikers to keep going. You will find that even complete strangers will encourage you. No matter how tired you get, it will be hard to turn back once you see the various gorgeous views each step of the way. It is said that with each step, you will feel more of your earthly desires disappear. It’s all worth it even just for the top observation deck. All you will feel is pure peacefulness. If you are not in great physical shape, just keep in mind that there are a few points in the hike that can be slightly rough, but nothing too unbearable. Just take your time and remember your water bottle! It takes about one hour and 30 minutes to complete the entire hike. There is a portion towards the top where you must pay for a 300 JPY ticket, so make sure you have some change on you. As with any outdoor establishment, it’s important to pay attention to the weather before you leave. It’s well worth the trip if you like temples and nature!