Tracing the backroads of Chichibu and the footsteps of Muso Soseki

A Buddhist priest skilled in garden design (Ishitate-so) – The perspective of Muso Soseki: Stepping deeply into mist along the old road

Deeply intertwined with the history of medieval Japan, Muso Soseki was a Zen monk of the Rinzai Sect who served the Ashikaga shogunate as an advisor during the Muromachi Period (1336-1573). He spent his childhood and trained to become a Buddhist priest in the Kai Region. Kentokusan (Mount Kentoku) was the mountain name (sango) of Erin-ji Temple, where Muso Soseki served as priest. The springs called Ginsho-sui and Kinsho-sui, and a rock for medication (Zazen-seki) remain and can be found on the mountain. Joko-ji Temple, which was located in Makioka Town, Yamanashi Prefecture, is thought to have been established by Muso Soseki after he completed his training.
Besides these, there are many traces of Muso Soseki along the Chichibu Okan Road and in the surrounding areas. It is said that Muso Soseki had as many as 10,000 disciples, and that he was given posthumous Buddhist names by seven emperors and former emperors. Muso Soseki was also skilled in garden design (Ishitate-so). Describing himself as a lover of nature, he had a special fondness for the beauty of fog, cloud, and mist. His aesthetic may have developed as he grew up and trained surrounded by the mountains and fields of the Kai Region.
This route brings visitors to temples that show traces of Muso Soseki, spots related to the Kai-Minamoto Clan and Yasuda Yoshisada, and to the backroads in Chichibu.

Distance : about 40 km / Required Time : about 6.0 hours / Car

Starting point : Town Station Yamanashi

Goal point : Town Station Yamanashi


  • Starting point
  • Goal point
  • Parking lot
  • Toilet
Tap the spot you want to read about!