Ever since I developed an interest in the Japanese art of Iaidō, I started paying more attention to the legends related to samurai and masters of martial arts… You can “feel” several such legends while visiting the Kurama mountain, a little north of Kyoto: here, you can see where the legendary samurai Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Ushiwakamaru) was initiated and trained in the arts of the sword by the tengu king Sōjōbō…
Another legend from Kurama tells the story of the Heian Period master swordsman Kiichi Hogen, who created a core of martial arts styles known as Kyo Hachi-ryū, the “Eight Traditions of the Capital". He thought the techniques to 8 of his monk disciples, each of them later establishing martial arts schools in Kyoto.
It is said that one of his manuscripts is preserved inside the small shrine from this photo…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: