The 287 steps to Kuon-ji Temple are quite a challenge for the average adult. However, my 8-year-old son definitely found the climb less of a challenge. Once I reached the top of the staircase, looking back down almost brought on a bout of vertigo.
I understand that the temple receives close to 1.5 million visitors a year. However, judging from what I observed in cherry-blossom season, my guess is that a large proportion of those visitors come during this time. The cherry blossoms are definitely beautiful, but I prefer visiting the temple when there are fewer people.
My kids are definitely different from regular Japanese children as they simply don’t adhere to social norms. This photo is a case in point. My son was trying to reach the offerings to the temple in full view of the pilgrims. Sometimes you just have to preserve the moment, no matter how embarrassing.
Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to JR Shizuoka Station, change to the Limited Express Fujikawa bound for JR Minobu Station (departures at 8:17, 9:41, 11:41, 13:39, 15:40, 17:40, 19:40). You can also access Minobu from JR Shinjuku Station in 3 hours by taking an express train to JR Kofu Station on the JR Chuo Line. Once you arrive in Kofu, you will change to the JR Minobu Line for JR Minobu Station. Take a taxi or a bus from the train station to Minobusan (Kuon-ji Temple). The taxi is about 2,000 yen, but the bus is only about 280 yen. Alternatively, you can access Minobu by bus from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (3.5 hours).