Temple 45: Iwaya-ji

Top choice

Buddhist Temple

in Ehime Prefecture

Pilgrims will be hoofing it through Shikoku's mountainous interior to get here, but you'll want your own wheels if you're not a henro to get to the isolated, but extremely atmospheric Temple 45, the Iwaya-ji. Its cliffside buildings tower precariously above the valley and visitors might almost feel the presence of the holy men of long ago. A trail lined with age-old statues winds up to the temple, then up and over the mountain above.

Beside the main hall, climb the wooden ladder up to the platform in the indentation in the cliff where pilgrims ascend to pray.