Mt. Hiko is located in Yaba-Hita-Hikosan Quasi-National Park and on the border
between Fukuoka and Oita prefectures. It has three peaks; the Kitadake (Northern
Peak), the Nakadake (Central Peak), and the Minamidake (Southern Peak). The
highest peak is the Nakadake, which is about 1200m.
Mt Hiko is one of three major Shuken-do in Japan including Mt. Haguro in Dewa and
Mt. Omine in Kumano. Shuken-do flourished through ages. It is known as an
ascetic training place where strolling monks practice asceticism. During the height of
the Edo era, it was commonly called “Mt Hiko, three thousand eight hundred monks”
It is said that 3000 monk-soldiers and 800 monks came. Also, they say that this is the
mountain where Tengu lives. Mt. Hiko formed the setting of “Flowers and the Moon,”
a famous Noh (Japanese classical masked dance-drama) song, written by Zeami
Motokiyo in the Muromachi era. Children who had just become 7 years old were often
spirited off in the area of Mt. Hiko, so people believed that Tengu had hidden the
children and they were scared of Tengu. “Floors and the Moon” has been handed
down as an example of such a belief and became a story of the Noh farce.
The Origin of “Mt. Hiko”
“Mt. Hiko” has been thought of as sacred mountain since ancient times. The enshrined deity is Ameno-Oshiho-Miminokoto, a son of the God of Sun, Amaterasu-Omikami. Thus, “日の子の山(Hi no ko no Yama): the mountain of Sun’s son,” was called “日子山 (Hikosan). After the two letters “日子(Hiko)” were changed to “彦（Hiko）” by the Emperor Saga’s edict in Kounin 10 (A.D. 819), the letter “英” was added to the name and became “英彦山” (Hikosan) by the Emperor Reigen’s command in Kyouhou 14 (1729).