Gate to the Summit

This gate is the entrance to the path leading to the inner shrine at the summit of Mt. Nantai. Although the entire mountain is part of Futarasan-jinja Shrine, the gate marks a further degree of separation of the sacred from the profane. Climbing the mountain is spiritual exercise as much as it is physical.
The path to the summit is open from April 25 to November 11, and climbers usually begin the 6-kilometer ascent to the summit during the morning. Given that the round trip may take six to seven hours, setting out after noon is not permitted.
During the Mt. Nantai Ascension Festival, held every July 31 through August 7, the sacred object of worship is moved to the shrine at the top of Mt. Nantai. Every night during the festival, a group gathers at about 11:00 p.m. and sets out on the path up the mountain around midnight, arriving at the summit just in time for sunrise.