Cave temple worships nature ”Natadera”

Cave temple worships nature

Sacred site of Mount Hakusan

Natadera is located on Mount Hakusan, and due to its majestic prominence, has long been revered as a sacred mountain where a Goddess resides. Natadera was founded approximately 1300 years ago, in the year 717 when the Buddhist priest Taicho carved a statue of a thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara and enshrined it in the cave of Hakusan. In the middle of the Heian period, Emperor Kazan visited the temple, and was so pleased with the temple, left a comment, ”This sacred location possesses all the 33 views of the Westland’s Kannon sacred mountains.” It is said that Natadera was named afterward quoting the emperor’s comment, taking the character 那 ”Na” from Nachisan, the 1st sacred mountain of the 33, and the character 谷 ”Tani” from Tanigumi San, the 33rd sacred mountain.

Walking in the caves

The temple had been revered, but the war of the north and the south dynasties caused its dilapidation. Later, Toshitsune Maeda, the 3rd feudal lord to the Kaga clan restored the temple. Ever since, Natadera stands majestically in the steep mountains.
Natadera is also known for its rocky mountains and caves. Important Cultural Asset designated ”Daihikaku Haiden” and ”Karamon” stand by the entrance of the cave while the main ”Honden” is located inside the cave.
Many Jomon period earthenware were excavated from inside. Researchers claim that there may have been religious ceremonies conducted inside the caves. This temple still standing here today, dates back to the ancient times.

Feeling the laws of nature

The oddly shaped cliff Kiganyusenkyo is a tourist spot at Natadera. A Buddhist statue is enshrined by the rocky mountain surface, looking like a picture of the beautiful landscape. We visited in summer, when the mountain was full of greenery.
”The statue melts into the natural landscape, surrounded by the forest. What a sight!” Nakata commented, as he looked at Kiganyusenkyo.
”People of the past cherished being a part of nature.”
Natadera is a temple that holds faith in the laws of nature. The beauty of the 4 seasons within the temple grounds seem to be mere coincidence, but actually is not. It is all calculated. The inherent beauty is still handed down in the present times.


Yu122 Natamachi Komatsu, Ishikawa