When I told people I was planning to go to this temple, I was told it is haunted, there are ghosts, it is scary. I was even told not to go. Many Japanese people are very superstitious. I don't consider myself superstitious, but I have to say it was a weird day. It was a little rainy and visibility wasn't good - kind of spooky.
I mapped out my route with google maps on the iPad. As I started my walk up the mountain, the little blue dot (me) was moving all around and I couldn't tell which road I was on. Then -- the dot disappeared and I got the message "current location undetermined". Was I in the Twilight Zone, or what? The road was steep and I was leaning forward, looking at the ground when I felt something drip from my nose. I saw a drop of blood on the ground! I never get nose bleeds! What was going on? The nose bleed stopped as quickly as it started. Next, I see this ghost swing set on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere. How weird.
The legend is that a cow monster was living in the area bothering everyone. An expert archer named Kurodo Takakiyo Yamada prayed for 17 days, then shot and killed the monster. Afterward he gave the monster's horns to Negoro-ji. There is a statue at the entrance to the temple of this monster and two other monsters guarding the gate to the temple grounds.
The temple grounds and buildings are very beautiful and there were pilgrims, so not everyone avoids the place, but it was a weird day.
People who hike the entire 88 Temples take months to do it. There are bus tours that also take people around. I'm happy to go to the ones in my area for now, although I would like to do the entire route if I had the chance.