Admire a Time-Honored Place of Worship
In Japan, there are several myths and legends linked to the onsen origins. According to one, the hot spring source in Yamashiro Onsen was discovered by the high priest Gyoki (668-749) on his pilgrimage to Mt. Hakusan. Gyoki also founded a Buddhist temple known today as the Yakuoin Onsenji Temple. The temple stands on the hill directly behind the soyu (public bathhouse) located in the centre of Yamashiro Onsen and features a beautiful, vermillion-lacquered main hall. A statue of the 11-faced kannon (goddess of mercy) which was carved during the Heian era (794-1185) is worth a look. In autumn, postcard views of vivid red and yellow maple leaves await.