Thursday, 17 July 2014


Fear Mountain, the Entrance to Japanese Hell

Osorezan (literally "Fear Mountain") is considered one of the three most sacred mountains in all of Japan, although if we're being totally honest here, its name isn't really all that accurate. That's not to say that it's not a hopeless gray landscape filled with sulfuric water mist and deadly pit vipers -- it totally is. Rather, it's not a mountain so much as a caldera volcano that last erupted in 1787.
Now it just waits. And watches.
Some Japanese monks actually refer to Osorezan as the "Gateway to Hell," so we're not exaggerating for comedy purposes when we say that the blasted, ash-coated landscape of Fear Mountain looks exactly like what you'd expect the entrance to actual hell to look like. In fact, the topography of the mountain happens to pretty accurately match the description of hell taught by the Tendai sect of monks. Not that that stopped them from living there.
Scattered statues keep things safe and cheery.
Not only does the mountain look like the kind of wasteland you might have to trudge through to reach Satan's eternal clubhouse (or at best, Mordor), it also hosts its own version of the River Styx. The Sanzu River that runs through the area has heavily toxic waters that have killed almost all life in and around it.
Nothing in nature is supposed to have this color.
For a price, the monks who inhabit the area will relay your message to the great beyond thanks to the convenient location of Fear Mountain and the magic mushroom they use to put themselves in a trance. To access their inner medium, the itako shamans ingest an indigenous mushroom known as the Devil Skull Mushroom, which seems fitting.
And, if you believe that in the final days the Devil will emerge from hell and roam the Earth, we have good news: We're pretty sure we know where you can wait for him to pop out.

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