No guarantor required! Weekly and monthly rates available. Good for short and long-term stay.
Osore-zan is ranked along with Koyasan and Hieizan as one of Japan's three most sacred places. It is said that a Buddhist priest, Jikaku Daishi discovered this mountain as a sacred place to offer prayers to the souls of deceased people in a manner of Jizo-worship. From old times, people in Shimokita region believed that the soul of a deceased person goes to the mountain (Osore-zan). A red-arched bridge can be seen over the river, Sanzu-no-kawa that divides this world and the world afterlife. There is also a beach called Gokuraku-hama (Paradise beach), a beautiful sandy beach that reminds one of the Buddhists’ land of Happiness after death. You will find something quite different from “this world.”
- 3-2 Aza-Usoriyama, Oaza-Tanabu, Mutsu-shi, Aomori
- Contact No.
- 43-min bus ride from JR Shimokita station. Get off at the bus stop Osorezan. Walk shortly.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Opening Hours: 6:00-18:00 (please make inquiry for details. Opening hours change during the annual summer festival and the temple visit in autumn.)
Open all year round (closed from November to April)
- Time Required
- 2 hours
- Admission fee
- Adult 500 yen, elementary school students & junior highschool students 200 yen
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Sanmon, gate to the spiritual world
Crossing over a red-arched bridge that divides this world and the afterlife, you will find the gate “Sanmon” beyond which the spiritual world exists. It is always peculiarly quiet a place even when there are many visitors. The only sound heard here is the spinning sound of pinwheels. When you continue forward, you will see a rough rocky area that suggests the desolate scenery of hell.
Jizo-den, main hall
The principal image of Buddha, Enmei Jizo-bosatsu is settled in the main hall. Prayers are offered three times a day (6:30, 11:00, 14:00). The mountain called Jizo-san stands in the mist behind the building. On both sides of the approach, there are four sheds of hot springs where visitors can relax for free.
You will find incessant hell and sinners’ hell one after another in this savage atmosphere. Some hells shoot up sulfurous gas through the rough rocky surface. It is better if you bring a handkerchief or a mask.
It is said that a young child who dies before his parents must continue to build a stone stupa forever at Sai-no-Kawara because he makes his parents grieve. It is believed that the soul of the child can rest in peace once he completes the stupa. So many visitors here help building it. Near Sai-no-Kawara, there are many pinwheels offered to the souls of children to play with in the world of afterlife.
Gokuraku-hama & Lake Usoriyama Bring Peace to Your Mind
After walking through the Hell area in fumes of sulfur, the scenery changes dramatically when you see “Gokuraku-hama” ahead. It is a beautiful white beach that reminds you of the Buddhists’ land of Happiness after death. It is somewhat lonely, and whimsical at the same time. The cobalt blue lake will bring you peace of mind.
Sanzu-no-Kawa & Taiko-bashi
A red-arched bridge is over the river, Sanzu-no-kawa, that divides this world and the afterlife. It is said that the bridge looks as thin as a needle to sinners and they cannot go over it. There are stone statues of Datsueba who plunders the clothes of the dead and Keneo who measures the gravity of the sins of the dead.
Communicate with the Deceased in a Ritual “Itako no Kuchiyose”
Osore-zan is famous for “Itako no kuchiyose.” Kuchiyose is a ritual conducted by Itako (Japanese shaman) who communicate with the deceased by allowing the spirit to possess their bodies. Many people visit Itako hoping to hear from their lost loved ones even today. During the annual summer festival (July 20-24) and the temple visit in autumn (beginning of October), many people wait in a line in front of Itako huts that stand side by side.