Visiting a Mecca of Shugendo on Winter Solstice

On the winter solstice, I went to Hando Shrine and Mt. Hando, which was one of the meccas of Shugendo and the main training ground of Koga Ninjas.

It is located in Koka City which is the next municipality to Hino Town. Yes, Koka, or is often pronounced as Koga is the birthplace of Koga Ninjas. Mt. Hando is the main place where Koga Ninjas trained because it was the main training ground of Shugendo in Shiga and it was called Mt. Omine of Omi, which was the old name of Shiga. Shugendo practitioners from all over the place gathered there and trained.

You may be wondering what ninjas have got to do with Shugendo, but they were very much influenced by Shugendo. I wrote all about it in my new book Ikigai Bio-Hacking.

Ninja-Yamabushi Connection

Hando Shrine was a magnificent shrine even though not many people seem to visit these days. I was the only visitor on this day.


There were some rocks behind it.


It says that Shugendo practitioners trained here.



From the shrine, it said it would be another 800 meters to the mountain top. So I continued walking.


Well, actually I ran, imagining how Shugendo practitioners and ninjas used to run around here.


Then, finally, I arrived at the top of Mt. Hando. I was doing my 24 hours fast and it was the last hour of my fasting window.


The view was fantastic.

The name Hando is symbolic. Handotai means semiconductor in Japanese. Silicon Valley was named after silicon being used a lot in semiconductors, wasn’t it? If bio-hacking was born in Silicon Valley, Ikigai Bio-Hacking was born in Japanese Satoyama. Satoyama is a village and a mountain combined and circular lifestyle of that bioregion. The mountain was the sacred zone where gods resided and villagers often climbed the mountain as a form of worship and Yamabushis, Shugendo practitioners were the medium between the gods and humans.

Mt. Hando represents the world of Shugendo and Japanese spirituality. I am so happy and honored to come here on the winter solstice 2021, to report my new book to the gods of this mountain.

Well, this is the last post this year. I will be on holiday from tomorrow. Thank you very much for reading this blog this year, and I’ll see you in the new year.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


The Ikigai Diet: The Secret Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity

POD Paperback