After passing the watermill , we moved on and then we finally entered the dirt path. There were more trees and lesser houses now. We did found a couple of abandoned buildings near the river where we took a short break while K & C explored around it. Afterwards, we came across an intersection. One sign says to Kouhouji and other said somewhere in the mountain. All of us were inclined to take the other road but a few hikers coming down, told us that the road that will lead to the temple is the correct path to the top.
A few minutes later, we arrived in the temple. It was surrounded by trees making it mysterious. When we got inside, we saw no one was there and the temple looks like it has seen better days. There was a small explanation near the entrance but it was written in Japanese and lots of old Kanji that I have not encountered before. I tried to search for an English site for its history but I only found blogs of other hikers who have also found it but no explanation or any history. Even Japanese website was also scarce. I found a short description and tried to translate it.
Again I am not a professional translator so I apologize for any mistake whatsoever.
鷲尾山 興法寺 所在地：大阪府東大阪市上石切町2丁目
Nearest Station: Kintetus Nara Line ; Ishikiri Station
2KM away to the east of Zushidani
Estimated walk time : 45 Mins. or 20 minutes from the Top of Mt. Ikoma
This temple was built around 1360, during rule Emperor Jomei(629-41).
Hereafter, around reign of Empress Gemmei Tenno (707-15), Gyoki Bodhisattva, carved a thousand armed Kannon from
a Sandalwood tree and it became the main deity of the temple.
In 815, Koubou Daishi trained in this mountain and installed a statue of Nandikesvara(Ganesh in the Buddhist Pantheon)
afterwards, it became a Kanshuji Palace and then later on the Imperial court bestowed the Coucil power of Kongo.
In Nanbokucho Perio(1336-92) it became the stronghold of the Nanchou Lord, from Jouwa Era to Kan’ou Era, Kou No Moronao
sieze the temple’s estate, fire destroyed most of the mountain and it came under the control of Daimyo Hanoi, in 1393
Hatakeyama Motokuni rebuilt but was again destroyed by far during the Onin War.
In Eiroku Era (1558-1570), Onishi Tango restored the place.
In Kan’ei era of Edo Perio (1624-1644) it was restored by Ryouta and since 1916 the temple has undergone several
restoration until it’s present state.
The place looks like it has a great history with it. It’s sad to see it in its current state.