Mt. Tai (Mt. Taishan)
The sister relationship between Yamaguchi Prefecture and Shandong Province started in 1982. Shandong Province, located in northeastern China, is known for everything from cotton and petroleum to gold and diamonds. The province is also home to companies such as Tsingtao Beer and appliance manufacturer Haier. The capital of Shandong Province, Jinan, has a sister city relationship with Yamaguchi City that began in 1985.
Shandong Province also has many tourist attractions, such as the Temple and Cemetery of Confucius in Qufu, and the resort city, Qingdao. However, the province is perhaps best known for Mt. Tai, or Taishan (“shan” means “mountain”). Taishan, designated a World Heritage Site in 1987, is known as the first of the five sacred mountains in China. Pilgrims have flocked to Taishan for over 3,000 years, and emperors throughout China’s history have visited the mountain as well. There are 22 buildings and temples, 97 ruins, 819 stone tablets, and 1,018 stone inscriptions.
Pilgrims often visit the temples located both at the foot and on the summit of the mountain. Dai Temple, located at the foot of the mountain, is the largest building on Taishan. Pilgrims also enjoy watching the sunrise from the top of Taishan, a breathtaking experience. According to legend, the sun rises at Taishan and from there moves gradually towards the west.
The easiest way to the top of the 1,545 meter high Taishan is by cable car. However, you can also use steps to reach the top, but you must climb over 7,000 steps in order to do so! If you choose to take the steps, the number of hours it will take you to reach the top will depend on your pace. Because there are multiple routes to the summit, each with its own different scenery, it might be a good idea to plan your route if you intend to climb the steps.