Gakuen-ji is a mountain temple located in Hirata-cho in Izumo. It was established in 594 when Chishun Shonin prayed at the waterfall near the site of the temple that the Empress’s eyes would be healed. As he made an offering of the holy water, the Empress’s eyes were cured. The temple is on the Shinbutsu Pilgrimage, and is represented by the Chinese character for “waterfall” in honour of the power of the holy water here at Gakuen-ji.
The path from the car park to the temple takes you deep into the woods and along a running stream. When you reach the temple gate, you can keep going deeper into the mountains towards the waterfall, or climb up to the temple from where you have amazing views of the forest covered hills. The views are particularly fantastic in autumn, and so there are usually many visitors at that time.
Getting There: You really need a car to get to Gakuenji.
Follow R431 from Izumo or Matsue to Hirata, and then follow the signs. It is quite well sign-posted until you reach the coast. When you hit the coast, go left and then left again up into the forest. (You should see a school just where you turn left.)