- 3–4 hours of hiking over approx. 9km.
There are a lot of steep stairs to climb to get to the temples at the top.
The three temples at Yajishan are locally famous, and every year there is a big temple fair. We're visiting early on a weekday to try to avoid any overcrowding, and will spend the day having a look at what's going on.
Yajishan Temple Fair
Every year there is a fair in a field below the mountain, and it's a lively and busy time to visit. We'll have time to get a good look at what's going on – fortune telling, street food and snacks, fireworks and incense burning, and various performers.
Take a look at the trip reports at the end of the page to see what was happening at the fair on previous visits – very entertaining!
The first temple is at the foot of the mountain and was originally built in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). This temple was destroyed by the Japanese army during the war, and since been rebuilt.
There are another two temples at the top of the mountain - one built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), and the other built during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911 AD). Both of these temples had to be rebuilt after the war as well.
The Qing Dynasty temple has quite an interesting story. It was used by Qing royalty, and the funds for its construction were raised by an old lady who lived in the nearby area. The old lady also helped out in the construction of the temple. There is a shrine to her in the temple, as well as records of visits by Qing Emperors.
In one of the temples on the way up, there are two side halls with dioramas of Daoist hell, complete with horse-headed guards carrying axes and models that depict the several hundred ways that you will be tortured if you are not a good Daoist. If you're in more information about this sort of gruesomeness, take a look at the Wikipedia entry for the Daoist Realm of the Dead.
Yaji Mountain is named for its similarity to a hairstyle that was popular for young girls a long time ago. If you see the mountain from the right angle (and use a little imagination) you will be able to see the resemblance – think of the mountain as the head, and the two temples at the top of the mountain as the two cute pigtails sticking out from either side.
After we've looked about the temples, we'll follow an old trail that will take us around the back of the mountain, walking a path that winds through the peaks. We'll stop for a break at a nice lookout point and then follow steps down past the hotel and out on to the flat land at the foot of the mountain.
We'll have lunch at a local restaurant, and then we'll give you another thirty minutes of free time to take another look around the stalls and streets
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat
- Sun protection: hat, long-sleeved shirt
- Good hiking boots or comfortable shoes for walking around
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- The climb up to the temples is rather steep, making it a fairly tough climb with a lot of steep stairs!