Yajishan Daoist Temples
Make the short-but-steep climb to the top of Yaji Mountain, stopping along the way to explore the various temples and shrines on the way to the top.
There are quite a few steep stairs to climb to get to the temples at the top.
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.
The temples here are a popular religious attraction for people in the Pinggu district. It is quite common to see people burning incense, and sometimes it’s possible to see a full religious ceremony.
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. As it’s Halloween today, we think that the models of Daoist hell are appropriately gruesome!
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. Before we head down from the temples, we’ll take a little walk up a hill trail behind the temples to get a good look at this.
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat
- Warm clothes, gloves, and a hat
- 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 stairs up to the temple on top are rather steep, making it a fairly tough climb!
- This is a rather short hike, and we aim to take our time looking about rather than getting exercise.