“Mount Chōkai” Precinct of Kimpo Shrine/ White Waterfall Valley of Naso

Kimpo Shrine (part of the national historical site of Mount Chōkai)

Classification: National historical site

Date registered: July 23, 2009

Kimpo Shrine (formerly called Zao Gongen Shrine), which was the base for Kotaki Shugen (ascetics), worships Zao Gongen (or Kongo Zao Gongen, the manifestation of buddha that is worshiped by shugenja throughout Japan) and Chokaisan Dai Gongen (the manifestation of buddha on Mount Chōkai). The standing statues of Sho-Guanyin and Zao Gongen, preserved in the shrine, are estimated to have been carved during the Heian era (794–1185).

The religious relics on the premises include the old stone-paved pathway (said to have been laid by Jikaku Daishi) and a board monument from 1322. Every year on the second Saturday of June, the “Kotaki Choukurairo Dance” is performed on a soil stage at the shrine to pray for long life, and this is designated as a nationally important intangible cultural property.


National site of scenic beauty: White Waterfall Valley of Naso (“Naso no Hakubaku-koku”)

Classification: National site of scenic beauty

Date registered: March 25, 1932

The White Waterfall Valley of Naso (“Naso no Hakubaku-koku”) is a splendid waterfall with a height of 26 meters and a width of 11 meters. The rainy season is the best time to visit the waterfall, when the grand scenery of the water falling from top to bottom is the most impressive. Under the waterfall is the Kotaki lava, which flowed out of a subsidiary volcanic conduit more than 100,000 years ago (it is older than the effusion of Shinzan lava that forms the most recent layer of Mount Chōkai).

The White Waterfall Valley of Naso is located in Kotaki Village, which used to contain a religious hospice (the only one in Akita) for worshipping visitors.  Due to its connection to ascetic practices, Kimpo Shrine was built in the face of the valley, where ascetics conducted their harsh religious training.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology

(Nikaho City responsible for its maintenance)

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