{Shikoku Hachijūhachikasho Meguri}

This information is being put together from many sources. In addition to my personal notes, a list of my resources can be found on the Pilgrimage Books & Papers page. The distances between temples comes from the Japanese maps in Shikoku Henro Hitori Aruki Dōgyō Ninin. The links for each of the temple's honzon (main deity) go to an explanation of that deity on the Shingon Buddhist International Institute web site at www.shingon.org.

Two notes:

1. The distance listed between temples below assumes that you are only walking to the main 88 temples. If you visit the bangai temples as well, this will change some of these distances.

2. About each temple's goeika: there are variations between books on the goeika for various temples. I don't know if they have changed over the years or if different groups and/or sects have different accepted versions. Just beware that you may find differences, depending on the book you take the information from.


Bodai no Dōjō
Bodai no Dōjō
The Dōjō of Enligntenment
(Temples 40 to 65)

Half way. You have now passed Cape Ashizuri and find yourself on the southwest coast and heading northward — heading home. From here on each day will bring you closer to your destination and not further away from your starting point.

Then again, aren't your starting point and destination one and the same? You may realize that there is no difference when you stop analyzing and forget the labels that you attached when you set off on day 1. And while we're at it, is there any difference between today in the Dōjō of Enlightenment and yesterday in the Dōjō of Religious Discipline? Today? Yesterday? Now? Then? Birth? Death? Those pesky labels.

Today it's sunny. Tomorrow, rain. One day you walk with a monk. Another day you walk with an irrational woman. One day you're happy. Another day you're angry. Ahhh... life on the henro trail.

Temple 40 Shingon Buddhism
Name: Kanjizaiji Honzon: Yakushi Nyorai
Name: The Temple of Kannon Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Shingan ya jizai no haru ni hana sakite, ukiyo nogarete sumuyake da mono
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 25.8 km Distance to Next Temple: 50.2 km 

It would be interesting to find out sometime why the temple is named after Kannon but the honzon is of Yakushi. The temple was founded by Kōbō Daishi and he is said to have carved three statues, of Yakushi, Amida, and Jūichimen Kannon, from the same piece of wood while making three full prostrations before each stoke of the knife.

Emperors Heizei and Saga visited here and dedicated sutras as patrons of the temple. In honor of these dedications, the temple and town were renamed after them, using their names Hirajō and Mishō. Thus people call the temple Heijōzan Kanjizaiji of Mishō Town. At one time the temple included 48 sub-temples but was burned and restored by Munetoshi Date, the daimyō of Uwajima in 1679. When it was renovated more recently, local parishioners must have decided to end the fear of fire once and for all — the hondō is now made of concrete.

The funa-gata (boat-shaped) prayer to Amida that was written by Kōbō Daishi. Legend says that after carving the statues of Amida, Kannon, and Yakushi, he had a piece of the wood remaining. On it he carved the prayer Namu Amida Budtsu, Praise Amida Buddha, in raised letters with a fancy border and grass at the bottom. When ink is spread over it and the wood block is used to imprint something, it looks like a typical stone marker that one would see along the side of the road. The temple imprints many items with a more recent copy of the wood block (the original is considered too valuable to risk) and sells them to henro. They are believed to be effective against disease and have supposedly cured blindness, heart disease, and allowed a mute to speak. In addition, a woman who wears a piece of cloth imprinted from this block around her belly will have an easy pregnancy.

When the Taira (Heike) clan was defeated by the Minamoto (Genji) clan in the late 12th century battles that put the Minamoto in power and moved the capital to Kamakura, the Heike retreated here and lived out their lives as refuges.

Frederick Starr mentions a 5-storeyed pagoda here and says that it is the mausoleum of Emperor Heijo.

As an aside, Ehime Prefecture (Iyo Province) is known for the production of Iyo oranges and orange trees can be seen all along the coastline.

Temple 41 Shingon Buddhism
Name: Ryūkōji Honzon: Jūichimen Kanzeon
Name: Dragon's Ray Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Kono kami wa, sangoku rufu no mikkyō o mamori tamahan, chikahito zo kiku
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 50.2 km Distance to Next Temple: 2.6 km 

This temple is popularly called Oinarisan. According to legend, Kōbō Daishi met Inari-myōjin here in 807, in the form of an old white-haired man, and then founded the temple. He also carved the honzon around this time. Inari was the god of fertility, worshipped as an agricultural deity, and always associated with a fox (kitsune), his messenger and attendant. The area around the temple is heavily agricultural and this temple is dedicated to rice growing.

Inari, though originally a Shintō divinity, became popular here during the Edo Period. This temple has always had many donors and believers, from merchants to samurai. The temple has become the head temple of Inari worship in Japan.

In addition to the hondō and daishidō, there is also an Inari Shrine on the temple grounds. Until the forced split at the start of the Meiji Period, one building housed both the temple and the shrine with the honzon housed inside. Since the split, though,the two establishments have been in adjacent, but separate, buildings. Statler says that when he visited the temple in the 70's, both the temple and the shrine were claiming to be the one that housed the original honzon, the one that Kōbō Daishi carved. In Miyata-sans guidebook, he tells henro to be sure to visit this honzon in the "main shrine."

Frederick Starr says that the honzon is Jizō Bosatsu and that it is accompanied by Fudō and Bishamon.

Temple 42 Shingon Buddhism
Name: Butsumokuji Honzon: Dainichi Nyorai
Name: The Temple of Buddha's Tree Lodging: No

Goeika: Kusa mo ki mo hotoke ni nareru Butsumokuji naota no moshiki kichiku ninten
Honzon Mantra: On abiraunken bazara datoban
 Distance to Previous Temple: 2.6 km Distance to Next Temple: 10.6 km 

It is quite a climb up to the temple, located on the top of a ridge on the edge of town.

According to legend, in 807, when Kōbō Daishi was passing here, he was offered a ride on a cow. While riding, he noticed a hōshu (a Mani jewel) hanging in the branches of an old camphor tree. He immediately recognized it as the hōshu that he had thrown from China during his stay there. From the same tree Kōbō Daishi carved an image of Dainichi Nyorai, placed the jewel on its forehead, and established it as the honzon of the temple.

Whereas Temple 41 is dedicated to rice growing, this temple is dedicated to animal husbandry. The Nōkyōsho sells charms that will keep farm animals healthy.It's Goeika goes: "When even a tree and a blade of grass can be enlightened, Why not Asuras, hungry ghosts, animals, men, and heavenly bodies?" This points to Kōbō Daishi's belief that all creatures can be enlightened through the compassion and wisdom of Dainichi Nyorai.

Of interest is the belfry with a straw thatched roof and the row of statues representing the seven gods of luck (Shichifukujin) in the temple courtyard.

Temple 43 Tendai Buddhism
Meisekiji Senju Kanzeon
Brilliant Stone Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Kikunaraku senju fushigi no chikara ni wa daibanjyaku mo karokuageishi
Honzon Mantra: On basara tarama kiriku
 Distance to Previous Temple: 10.6 km Distance to Next Temple: 61.9 km 

This temple was founded in the 6th century by Shōchō Enjun, under the orders of Emperor Kinmei. Later, a 5th generation disciple of En no Gyōja (En no Ozuna) dedicated the gods of the twelve Kumano shrines here and made this the Dōjō of the practice for followers of Shugendō. Kōbō Daishi repaired the temple buildings and Minamoto Yoritomo constructed buildings and donated a Sutra mound (kyōzuka) in memory of the nun Ike no Zenni in the early years of the 13th century.

During the Kamakura Period, the Saionji clan became rulers of southern Iyo and patronized this temple, as did Uwajima Date in the Edo Period.

The temple is popularly called Ageshisan (Brilliant Rock Mountain). Note the reddish roof bricks (Sekishun-kawara).

Note: This is the temple where many pilgrims start if they are coming from Kyūshū or further south. You can see Kyūshū from the hill behind the temple, or as you cross over the mountain coming from Temple 42. The trail over the mountain has been repaired and is now in spectacular shape.

Temple 44 Shingon Buddhism
Taihōji Jūichimen Kanzeon
Great Treasure Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Ima no yo wa daihi no megumi sugausan tsui ni wa mida no chikahi o zo matsu
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 61.9 km Distance to Next Temple: 8.4 km 

The walk from Temple 43 to Temple 44 is beautiful as you meander through a high valley and follow a small beautifully clean river. There is little traffic to speak of and the mountains are simply gorgeous.

This temple was originally the private assembly hall of a Korean monk who came to Japan in 701, the first year of Taihō. The statue of Kannon was his personal Buddha. Kōbō Daishi came here early in the 9th century and rebuilt it after it had fallen into disrepair as no one was staying here to maintain it.

Legend states that at one time the land in this area was inhospitable to growing crops. When Kōbō Daishi was passing through the area, the one lone woman who still lived here begged him for company. He changed the course of the river, bringing it closer to the temple. The river brought fertility to the land and other farmers quickly moved back to the area. Thus the woman had her company.

The sister of Emperor Go-Shirakawa was once chief abbess/nun here during his reign in the 12th century. The temple was destroyed by fire in 1873 but later restored.

The temple is located in the town of Kuma at an elevation of 1,600 ft. and situated in a calm and quiet forest of cedar trees. Note the beautiful Niōmon and a pair of giant waraji.

Frederick Starr notes that between Temple 44 and 45, there is a deep, dark cave where an enshrined statue of Fudō is worshipped.

Temple 45 Shingon Buddhism
Iwayaji Fudō Myōō
Rock Cave Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Daishō no inoru chikara no ge ni iwaya ishi no naka ni mo gokuraku zo aru
Honzon Mantra: Nōmaku sanmanda bazaradan senda makaroshyada sowataya untarata kanman
 Distance to Previous Temple: 8.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 24.2 km 

After several hours climbing to the top of a mountain ridge (if you choose the trail and not the road) you are greeted with spectacular views. You then drop down through a thick forest into the back of the temple and are greeted by a huge rock face with the temple nestled at its base.

Legend states that the temple was donated to Kōbō Daishi by a mysterious female recluse named Hokke-Sennin. Was she a shamaness or just a woman well advanced in Buddhist training? Kōbō Daishi carved two statues of Fudō, one in stone and kept in a cave at the rear of the temple, and the other in wood and enshrined in the hondō.

By keeping the stone statue in the cave, Kōbō Daishi ensured that the entire mountain needed to be worshipped in order to worship the statue. This way the mountain remained sacred, just as it had been in Shintōism. Over time, every nook and cranny of the mountain became sacred and every rock and slope became part of the sacred object.

This temple is one of the nansho of Ehime Prefecture and is one of the sites where mountain recluses and wandering holy men once performed their religious disciplines. Be sure to see the surface of the cliff above the temple.

The mountain is famous as the dwelling place of seven kinds of sacred birds. Frederick Starr states that in ancient times this temple was the Okunoin of Temple 44.

Temple 46 Shingon Buddhism
Jōruriji Yakushi Nyorai
Pure Emerald Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Gokuraku no jōruri sekai takuraeba ukuru kuraku wa mukuinaramashi
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 24.2 km Distance to Next Temple: 0.9 km 

The temple was founded by Gyōgi in 708 and later restored by Kōbō Daishi. The temple was named Pure Lapis Lazuli Temple because Yakushi is known as the Buddha of Pure Emerald Light (Rurikō Nyorai). Gyōgi also carved the honzon.

The temple was destroyed by fire in the 17th century but rebuilt 80 years later by the priest Gyō-on, a famous social worker who constructed eight bridges on the Tosa highway.

Note the Būssokuseki, a stone image of the Buddha's foot prints. If you stand on the Buddha's foot prints (with bare feet, of course), any pain in your feet will immediately disappear. Remembering that it is from this area that Emon Saburō came from, look for a large stone engraved with a haiku written by Masaoka Shiki, one of Japan's greatest poets.

How long the spring day is!
     Remembering Emon Saburo
At Jōruriji.

Frederick Starr notes that Kōbō Daishi, Ippen Shonin, and Gempin Sodzu all came here.

Temple 47 Shingon Buddhism
Yasakaji Amida Nyorai
The Temple of Eight Slopes Lodging: No

Goeika: Hana o mite uta yomu hito wa Yasakadera san butsujō no en to koso kike
Honzon Mantra: On amirita teisei kara un
 Distance to Previous Temple: 0.9 km Distance to Next Temple: 4.5 km 

Two English guidebooks say that the temple was founded by Tamaoki, the official ruler of Iyo, in 701. A Japanese guidebook says that it was founded by En no Gyōja. In Kōbō Daishi's time, eight paths led up the mountain to the temple and hence the name, the Temple of Eight Slopes. The statue of Amida, attributed to Eshin Sōzu of the 11th century, and the statue of Bishamon-ten, of 13th century origin, are classified as Important Cultural Properties. The temple also preserves a stone pagoda (Tahōtō) and Hōkyō-in style stupa from the same time period.

This temple belongs to the Daigo-ha sect of Shingon Buddhism, and because this is the sect which practices Shugendō, the temple is traditionally an important site for this practice. It is dedicated to the gods (Gongen) manifested at Mt. Kumano in Wakayama-ken.

Inside the temple are hundreds of small statues of Amida, all donated by visitors.

Temple 48 Shingon Buddhism
Sairinji Jūichimen Kanzeon
West Forest Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Midabutsu no sekai o tazune iktakuba nishi no hayashi no tera ni maireyo
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 4.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 3.2 km 

Founded by Gyōgi Bosatsu in 741 several kilometers from here, the temple was moved to its present location by Kōbō Daishi in 807, at which time he carved and enshrined the statue of Kannon.

As he did at many of the other temples on the pilgrimage, Kōbō Daishi created a spring, the Tsue no Fuchi (Well of the Staff) at this temple. As he had done elsewhere he drew water here by striking his staff into the ground.

The temple compound is lower than the surrounding land and the nearby river's banks. Therefore, at this temple you step down, not up, to get to the hondō. And, since you must step down to enter, the temple has come to be known (jokingly) as Mugen Jigoku. Jigoku means Hell, and it is generally thought that, while you step up to enter the Pure Land, you step down to enter hell. (As an aside: in Buddhist cosmology there are nineteen levels of hell, eight burning hells, eight freezing hells, and three hells of isolation.)

Frederick Starr says that the Fudō Myōō and the Bishamonten were carved by Gyōgi Bosatsu.

Temple 49 Shingon Buddhism
Jōdoji Shaka Nyorai
Pure Land Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Jūaku no waga mi o sutezu sono mama ni jōdo no tera e mairi koso sure
Honzon Mantra: Nōmaku sanmanda bodanan baku
 Distance to Previous Temple: 3.2 km Distance to Next Temple: 1.7 km 

The temple was founded by Gyōgi as a place for Empress Kōken to pray and at one time was quite large, with 66 branch halls and 7 affiliated temples. All were burned in 1416 and later rebuilt by the Kōno clan of Iyo Province on a much smaller scale.

The hondō is built in the Chinese style of architecture and contains a statue of the founder of the Nembutsu practice, Kūya Shōnin (903-972). The statue is classified as an Important Cultural Property and attributed to Kūya himself. Legend says that he stayed here for three years and that the local people were so sorry to see him leave when he did that they asked him to carve his own image and leave it behind. He is known as the founder of the Kūya School of Tendai Buddhism and is known as the Saint of the Streets.

The honzon is also by Gyōgi. Minamoto no Yoritomo is believed to have built the temple. Kūya's grave is only 1 cho from the temple and pilgrims are supposed to visit. The temple preserves statues of the first three patriarchs of Japanese Jōdoshū even though it is a Shingon temple.

Frederick Starr says that the temple was founded by Kōbō Daishi.

Temple 50 Shingon Buddhism
Hantaji Yakushi Nyorai
The Temple of Great Prosperity Lodging: No

Goeika: Yorozu koso Hanta nari tomo okotarazu, shobyō na kare to nozomi inore yo
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 1.7 km Distance to Next Temple: 2.8 km 

This temple is commonly called Hata-dera (Farm Temple) and was founded by Gyōgi. It was later patronized by Empress Kōken, or Hirokane Taira. Originally called Kōmyōji, Kōbō Daishi changed the name to its present name after/while he spent considerable time here. Gyōgi carved the honzon. The Fudō (the main figure of the Goma Hall) is also by Gyōgi.

The temple is famous as the place where Ippen Shōnin, founder of the Jishū in 1275, trained and studied. At one time it had 36 temple buildings and governed 120 sub-temples but little of that remains after the effects of both fires and war.

Like Kūyam, Ippen Shōnin (1239-1289) is known as a wandering sage of the Nembutsu. He led a wandering life and traveled all over Japan. Whereas most historical figures have spotless legends, Ippen's legend includes the fact the he had a huge temper and knew how to fight. One story even says that once, while he was studying, some relatives who carried a grudge against him tried to kill him. Ippen prevented it, though, by grabbing a sword and killed several of his uncles and cousins on the spot.

The temple's honzon and a statue of Fudō Myōō (Angry-Faced Guardian) are classified as Important Cultural Properties and are said to be the work of Gyōgi.

As you approach the temple, look for the sixty-meter concrete statue of Kōbō Daishi on the mountain ridge behind the temple.

Temple 51 Shingon Buddhism
Ishiteji Yakushi Nyorai
Stone Hand Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Saihō o yoso to wa mimaji anyō no tera ni mairite ukuru jūraku
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 2.8 km Distance to Next Temple: 11.8 km 

The temple was founded by Gyōgi on the orders of Emperor Shōmu. The honzon was also carved by Gyōgi. It was later rebuilt by Ryokuchō Ochi, the ruler of Iyo Province in the 8th century. Before Kōbō Daishi converted it to Shingon Buddhism, it belonged to the Hossōshū (Yogacara School of Buddhism).

Legend states that a rich and stingy man, named Emon Saburō, lived in Ebara village, Iyo Province. One day a henro came to his door begging for alms. Saburō refused and pushed him away. The next day he came again and Saburō again pushed him away, this time a little more forcefully. This continued in the same manner until the eighth day when Saburō completely lost his temper and threw the monk's begging bowl to the ground shattering it into eight pieces. The henro said nothing and simply walked away.

The next day one of Saburō's eight sons died for an unknown reason. Each day thereafter another of his sons died until by the eighth day he had lost all his sons. Realizing what he had done, Saburō repented of his stingy ways and made up his mind to repent for all the sins he had committee before and find the henro and beg his forgiveness.

Knowing that the henro was walking the pilgrimage, Saburō began walking around the island in the normal clockwise manner looking for him. Not finding him on his first trip around he began again. He walked the complete pilgrimage 20 times but had still not met with him so he decided to walk it in reverse order, hoping that this would allow their paths to cross. On this, his 21st pilgrimage, he met Kōbō Daishi at the base of the mountain leading to Temple 12. However, by this time he was completely worn out and was dying.

He begged forgiveness and repented of all his wrong-doings. Kōbō Daishi told him that his hard work on the henro trail and his repentance had washed away his sins and asked if he had any last wishes. Saburō told him that he hoped he would be reborn as the lord of Iyo Province so that he would have the power to do good. He swore that in his next life he would atone for all the wrong-doings he had done in this life.

Kōbō Daishi picked up a small stone, wrote something on it, and placed it in Saburō's hand, at which time he passed away quietly and at piece. Kōbō Daishi buried his body beside the trail and marked the grave by planting Saburō's staff in the ground. That staff eventually grew into a great cedar tree.

Later, in the early 17th century, the wife of Ikitoshi Kōno (the daimyō of Yuzuki castle) gave birth to a son but the child was never able to open his left hand, even after three years. At last the chief priest of Annyōji (the former name of Temple 51) was called and he succeeded in opening the hand through prayer. When the hand opened, they found a stone on which was written "Incarnation of Emon Saburō."

When this child became an adult he took over as the ruler of Yuzuki Castle and the temple was renamed Ishiteji.

Most of the temples in the complex were destroyed by Chōsokabe and his armies in the 16th century and later rebuilt. Of interest is the tiny stone that the baby boy held in his hand, a temple museum, and a memorial monument of haiku poems.

The temple is in the heart of the city and very near to Dōgō Onsen, which is worth a visit. The hondō is classified as a National Treasure.

Temple 52 Shingon Buddhism
Taisanji Jūichimen Kanzeon
Big Mountain Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Futuyama e noboreba ase no ide keredo nochi no yo omoeba nani no ku mo nashi
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 11.8 km Distance to Next Temple: 2.5 km 

The temple was built by Mano Kogorō, a wealthy merchant from Kyūshū. He built it to honor Jūichimen Kannon for saving him from shipwreck on a voyage to ōsaka in the 6th century. When he washed ashore after the wreck, he saw a bright light on the mountain's peak and followed it. When he arrived, he found the statue of Jūichimen Kannon and founded the temple on the same spot. The temple holds a festival every year on March 17th in memory of Mano.

The hondō is considered a National Treasure and is constructed without the use of a single cleat of nail. Legend states that it was built in a single night. This temple has had the patronage of emperors since the time of Emperor Shōmu (r. 725-749)

In the compound is the Hyakudo Ishi (One hundred times stone). It is a large boulder with a hundred pieces of bamboo in a ring on its top. You take a piece of bamboo, walk with it to the hondō, and then return to the stone, praying continuously as you walk back and forth. After one hundred repetitions, the prayer is sure to be granted. This practice isn't limited to this temple, however. At numerous temples you will see henro pacing back and forth between the hondō and the daishidō while earnestly praying. At this temple they simply have the bamboo to help them keep track of their counting.

Whereas many temples have special fertility rites for those that want to become pregnant, henro come to this temple, pray, and leave needles if they don't want to have any more children. And, from this tradition, another interesting tradition has sprung up. Women who do want more children can now come to this temple and pick up those same needles that have been left and this, conversely, will help them have the children they want. And, to take the tradition one step further, some people believe that for those desiring to have a child, wearing underwear sewn with these needles will be particularly effective.

Frederick Starr says that there are 6 Kannon statues here which were given to the temple as gifts by six emperors. He also notes that each has been classified as a National Treasure.

Temple 53 Shingon Buddhism
Emmyōji Amida Nyorai
The Temple of Circular Illumination Lodging: No

Goeika: Raikō no mida no hikari no Enmyōji terisō kage wa yonayona no tsuki
Honzon Mantra: On amirita teisei kara un
 Distance to Previous Temple: 2.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 34.4 km 

The temple was originally founded by Gyōgi. The honzon is also attributed to him. It was originally called Sugazan Shōchiin Emmyōji, a name given by Prince Kakujin of the Omuro Ninnaji Temple in Kyōto. At one time this was a monastic community of seven shrines but these burned down in the wars of the 16th century. It was later rebuilt by the feudal lord Shigehisa Suga.

The temple houses an interesting statue of the Virgin Mary disguised as Mariya Kannon, which was worshipped by secret Christians during the persecutions of Christians during the Tokugawa Period.

As an aside, Matsuyama was the feudal castle town of the daimyō Hisamatsu. The castle can still be seen on Matsuyama (Pine Mountain).

Temple 54 Shingon Buddhism
Emmeiji Fudō Myōō
The Temple of Long Life Lodging: No

Goeika: Kumori naki kagami no en to nagamureba nokosazu kage o utsusu mono kana
Honzon Mantra: Nōmaku sanmanda basaradan senda makaroshyada sowataya untarata kanman
 Distance to Previous Temple: 34.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 3.4 km 

Located in the hills around Imabari harbor, the temple was founded by Gyōgi and its original name was Emmyōji. The honzon was also carved by Gyōgi.It was later restored by Kōbō Daishi on the request of Emperor Saga. Originally, it was located on the top of Mt. Chikami but, as with other temples, was burned down by the warriors of Chōsokabe. It was moved to its present location in 1727.

The temple is remembered as the place where the medieval Buddhist scholar Gyōnen stayed and wrote a book called The Essential Philosophical Analysis of Eight Buddhist Sects (Hasshū-kōyō). He is also known as the scholar of Kegon philosophy (the Avatamsaka Sutra). {However, some scholars say that all of this happened at Temple 53, not here.

The Temple changed its name to the present during the Meiji Period to avoid confusion with Temple 53. Only this temple on the whole pilgrimage has two belfries. One of the bells of this temple was once taken to Matsuyama Castle. However, legend states that once it was there, when it was rung, it's sound sounded like the word "home" so it was promptly returned to the temple.

Temple 55 Shingon Buddhism
Nankōbō Daitsū-chishō Butsu
The Temple of Southern Lights Lodging: No

Goeika: Kono tokoro mishima ni yume no samenureba betsugū totemo onaji suijaku
Honzon Mantra: Namu daitsū chishō butsu
 Distance to Previous Temple: 3.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 3.0 km 

Founded in the 8th century by Gyōgi. The honzon is also attributed to Gyōgi. When it was founded, it was associated with the Oyamazumi Shintō Shrine of ōmishima Island.

This association was due to the 9th century theory of Honji-suijaku (True Nature-manifestations) in which Shintō Kami are considered to be manifestations (avatars/incarnations) of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It was because of this theory that temples and shrines were usually combined and/or coexisted side by side. This lasted until the early years of the Meiji Period when they were forcibly separated, Shinto was established a the state religion, and Buddhism was persecuted.

This temple was originally a branch temple of the shrine and was used for reciting prayers and Buddhist scriptures to invoke or please the Shintō Kami. It was destroyed by Chōsokabe in the 16th century and when restored, done on a smaller scale. Bombings in 1945 destroyed all except the daishidō and Konpira Shrine at which time it was rebuilt again.

This honzon in uncommon in Shingon. Daitsū-chishō Butsu is a Buddha who appears in the Hokke-kyō, the Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapundarika Sutra) which is the main sutra of the Nichiren Sect. In the sutra he is inscribed as "the Enlightened One before the Shaka Nyorai." This is the only temple on the pilgrimage devoted to him and it is not listed as one of Shingon's 13 Buddhas and Deities.

Temple 56 Shingon Buddhism
Taisanji Jizō Bosatsu
Peace Mountain Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Mina hito no mairite yagate Taisanji raise no indō tanomi okitsutsu
Honzon Mantra: On kakakabi sanmaei sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 3.0 km Distance to Next Temple: 3.1 km 

The temple and the honzon are both attributed to Kōbō Daishi. This temple, like others, was once located on the top of the mountain and only later removed to the base. It was still on the top in 824 when it was named as one of the locations that the emperor should pray.

The Sōja River near here has often flooded and caused great damage and loss of life. In fact, the local people call it the Hitotori Gawa for the number of lives it has claimed. On the request of the local people, Kōbō Daishi tamed the river by performing a secret ritual on its banks, at which time Jizō Bosatsu appeared. He then built the river's levee, carved a statue of Jizō, and enshrined it in the temple.

The characters that are used to write this temple's name have the same pronunciation as the characters for "Easy Birth Temple" and, as the main vow of Jizō is to ease child birth, this was the name originally used.

Frederick Stare notes, with an exclamation point, to "Look out for the river crossing!" Apparently it was dangerous in his days, but i don't think it is a problem today.

Temple 57 Shingon Buddhism
Eifukuji Amida Nyorai
The Temple of Good Luck Lodging: No

Goeika: Kono yo ni wa yumiya o mamoru yahata nari raise wa hito o sukufumida butsu
Honzon Mantra: On amirita teisei kara un
 Distance to Previous Temple: 3.1 km Distance to Next Temple: 2.4 km 

The temple was founded by Kōbō Daishi on the orders of Emperor Saga. The complex started off as a Shrine, but when Kōbō Daishi prayed here for safety at sea and stopped a storm with his prayers, Amida Nyorai appeared to him. Kōbō Daishi then converted it to a temple, carved the honzon of Amida, and enshrined it here.

In 861 Emperor Saga frequently sent Gyōkō (a priest from Daianji in Nara) to Usa in Kyūshū to receive an oracle from the God Hachiman. On one trip, his ship was wrecked in the area of this temple. Since the area around this temple resembles the area around Usa in Kyūshū, he simply climbed up to this temple and received the oracle from Hachiman here. Gyōkō believed that Hachiman was a manifestation of Amida Nyorai. The temple is now often called Katsuoka Hachiman by the locals.

The temple has been destroyed by fire several times and was deserted for almost a century, but has always remained as a favorite location for people offering prayers for safety at sea, as is Konpira Shrine in Kagawa Prefecture.

Temple 58 Shingon Buddhism
Senyūji Senju Kanzeon
Hermit in Seclusion Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Tachi yorite sarei no dō ni yasumitsutsu rokuji o tonae kyō o yomubeshi
Honzon Mantra: On basara tarama kiriku
 Distance to Previous Temple: 2.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 6.1 km 

Built on the orders of Emperor Tenchi by the local ruler Ochi-no-Kami Okikimi in the 7th century. Legend states that in early history the hermit (sennin) ascetic Abō recited sutras here for forty years before mysteriously disappearing one morning. The honzon was carved by a pious girl and became the guardian Buddha of Emperor Tenchi. According to another legend, the honzon was brought from Ryūgū (the Dragon King's palace) under the sea like the legend at temple 39.

Kōbō Daishi made this the 58th temple on the pilgrimage and the Dōjō of esoteric disciplining (Kegyō). Local people call this temple Osarei (carving while prostrating yourself) because of the legend that the girl prostrated herself once after every cut of the knife while she was carving the honzon.

The temple is located at an elevation of 1, 300 ft (390 meters) on the top of the mountain. According to Frederick Starr, the Niō (28 Buddha figures) and the main Buddha are all attributed to Unkei.

Along the path to the temple, there are thirty-three statues of Kannon, each with an aspect corresponding to a particular temple on the 33 temple Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.

Temple 59 Shingon-Ritsu Buddhism
Kokubunji Yakushi Nyorai
Official State Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Shugo no tame tatete agamuru Kokubunji iyoiyo megumu Yakushi nari keri
Honzon Mantra: On korokoro sendari matōgi sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 6.1 km Distance to Next Temple: 27.0 km 

Built by Gyōgi on the orders of Emperor Shōmu in 741 along with the State Temples in each of the other 66 provinces. The honzon is also attributed to Gyōgi. Kōbō Daishi is said to have stayed here and to have done a painting of five great deities for this temple. His disciple Prince Shinnyo stayed here for two years and copied the Lotus Sutra.

Of interest is the temple museum, its old manuscripts, and more. The Tennō-matsu is said to have been planted by Emperor Shōmu as a prayer for cure (a cure for what?). The grave of Nitta Yoshisada is here (famous for helping overthrow the Hōjō at the end of the Kamakura Period). This is the only temple on the pilgrimage from the Shingon Ritsu Sect.

There is one official state temple in each province, and these are: Temple 15 (Awa/Tokushima), Temple 29 (Tosa/Kōchi), Temple 59 (Iyo/Ehime), and Temple 80 (Sanuki/Kagawa).

Temple 60 Shingon Buddhism
Yokomineji Dainichi Nyorai
Side Summit/Peak Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Tateyoko ni mine ya yamabe ni tera tatete amaneku hito o sukubu mono kana
Honzon Mantra: On abiraunken bazara datoban
 Distance to Previous Temple: 27.0 km Distance to Next Temple: 9.5 km 

In 651, En no Gyōja carved a statue of Zaō Gongen (a Shintō Kami) and founded this temple. Kōbō Daishi came here later and carved the honzon of Dainichi Nyorai, into which he placed the statue of Zaō Gongen. (Some say that the honzon was carved by Gyōgi.)

The temple was originally an affiliated temple of the holy mountain Ishizuchi-san, which was worshipped as a Shintō Kami. By law, however, it became an independent Buddhist temple in 1869 at the start of the Meiji Period.

This temple is still considered the most difficult nansho on the pilgrimage because it is located at 2,340 ft (709 metes).

Temple 61 Shingon Buddhism
Kōonji Dainichi Nyorai
Incense Garden Temple Lodging: Yes

Goeika: Nochi no yo o omoeba maire Kōonji tomete tomaranu shirataki no mizu
Honzon Mantra: On abiraunken bazara datoban.
 Distance to Previous Temple: 9.5 km Distance to Next Temple: 1.3 km 

The temple was founded by Shōtoku Taishi in the middle of the 6th century, but was established as the 61st temple on the pilgrimage by Gyōgi (in the 8th century) and Kōbō Daishi (in the 9th century). Kōbō Daishi made a vow here to protect children (Ko-sodate), ease child birth (Anzan), to sacrifice himself for others (Migawari), and to allow women to become Buddhas (Nyonin-jobutsu). Because of the first of these vows, the temple is popularly known as Koyasu-Daishi, the Daishi of protecting children.

The honzon is attributed to Kōbō Daishi and it is said that he brought it back with him from China. Legend states that when he was here he relieved a woman of a difficult child-birth. Since then it has remained famous for aiding child-birth. In fact, Statler says that this temple has, in two generations, gone from being the poorest to being the richest of the 88 temples on the pilgrimage based solely on women's belief that prayers offered here will enable couples to have children.

Starr notes that women and feeble pilgrims omit Temple 60, going from 59 to 61, but stopping at the "preliminary temple."

The temple has recently been rebuilt in a very concrete and very western style, and looks like a modern American convention center. Both the hondō and the daishidō are made of concrete. Henro are allowed to enter the hondō , and once inside, they sit on chairs instead of tatami. It can seat 500 people!

Temple 62 Shingon Buddhism
Hōjuji Jūichimen Kanzeon
The Temple of Wealth and Happiness Lodging: No

Goeika: Samidare no ato ni idetaru tama no i wa shiratsubo naru ya Ichinomiya kawa
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 1.3 km Distance to Next Temple: 1.4 km 

The temple is attributed to Kōbō Daishi who built it on the orders of Emperor Shōmu as a place to recite the sutras (Hōraku-sho) in Iyo Province. It is called IchinoMiya, the shrine of Iyo Province. Kōbō Daishi is also attributed with having carved the honzon.It was carved in the likeness of Shōmu's Empress, Kōmyō, when she was sick. Shōmu dedicated a sutra he had copied himself to the temple.

The temple was abandoned in the early Meiji Period and restored by a henro named Ryūhen in 1877. Frederick Starr notes that in front of the temple there is a Senju Kannon also carved by Kōbō Daishi.

Temple 63 Shingon Buddhism
Kisshōji Bishamonten/Tamonten
The Temple of Mahasri/Laksmi Lodging: No

Goeika: Mi no naka no ashiki hihō o uchisutete mina kisshō o nozomii no reyo
Honzon Mantra: On beishiramandaya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 1.4 km Distance to Next Temple: 3.2 km 

The three statues of Bishamonten (worshipped as the god of wealth), Kichijōten, and Zennishidōji were all carved by Kōbō Daishi. The temple was originally on the summit of the mountain, but after being destroyed in a battle between Chōsokabe and Kobayakawa warriors, it was rebuilt at the present location. This is the only temple on the pilgrimage that has a honzon of Bishamonten and it was chosen because he was supposed to have appeared to Shōtoku Taishi during a battle and to have saved his life.

The temple's name Kisshō or Kichijō is derived from that of the supporting female deity of the honzon, the Hindu goddess Kichjōten (Mahasri or Laksmi).

Like Temple 53, this temple also has a beautiful statue of Mariya Kannon (the Virgin Mary disguised as a Kannon) which was entrusted to Chōsokabe by a Spanish sea captain.

I read somewhere that there is a large boulder near the temple entrance with a hole in it. It is said that if you can place a stick in the hole while approaching the boulder with your eyes closed, your wish will be granted. Good luck.

Temple 64 Shingon Buddhism
Maegamiji Amida Nyorai
The Front God Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Mae wa kami ushiro wa hotoke gokuraku no yorozu no tsumi o kudaku ishizuchi
Honzon Mantra: On amirita teisei kara un
 Distance to Previous Temple: 3.2 km Distance to Next Temple: 45.2 km 

The temple is located at the foot of Mt. Ishizuchi and was founded by En no Gyōja while he was engaged in ascetic practices on Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan. During these practices, both Sakyamuni and Amida appeared to him in the form of Zaō Gongen. Because it has long been associated with the worship of the god Zaō Gongen in the Shintō tradition, the temple's buildings and shrines are all built in the form of a Shintō shrine. The temple houses a statue of Shaka Nyorai that is attributed to En no Gyōja as well.

According to legend, Kōbō Daishi once spent 21 days on the top of Ishizuchi Mountain performing a Goma ritual and the Gomonjihō.

Emperor Kammu dedicated seven shrines and a pagoda to this temple through the Lord of Iyo Province. Frederick Starr notes that the Okunoin is 7 ri up the mountain and only accessible in the summer.

Temple 65 Shingon Buddhism
Sankakuji Jūichimen Kanzeon
Triangle Temple Lodging: No

Goeika: Osoroshi ya mittsu no kado ni mo iru naraba kokoro o maroku jihi o nenze yo
Honzon Mantra: On maka kyaronikya sowaka
 Distance to Previous Temple: 45.2 km Distance to Next Temple: 18.1 km 

The temple was founded by Gyōgi on the model of Miroku's Tusita Heaven. In 815 Kōbō Daishi performed a 21 day Goma of Victory ritual here and carved the honzon. On the temple grounds is the triangular goma altar used by Kōbō Daishi in that ceremony. The temple's name comes from that triangular altar.

Emperor Saga endowed the temple with 750 acres of land and it prospered until the 16th century, controlling 12 branch temples. At that time the temple was destroyed by fire and then restored.

The name of the mountain (Sangō) on which this temple is located is Yurei-san (Ghost Mountain) because legend states that a ghost once lived around the temple and caused a lot of trouble. Kōbō Daishi got rid of the ghost through a Goma ritual, using the sankaku altar.

In addition, there is a small triangular pond on the temple grounds as well as a statue of Jizō. At the Okunoin, the honzon is Kōbō Daishi. This is where he prayed to rid himself of the bad luck that comes with being 42 years old.

This temple is also dedicated to easy childbirth but there is a twist. The expectant mother is supposed to pretend to break into the temple and steal a ladle, which she then places under her bed. After the delivery, she brings the ladle back to the temple for someone else to take and hide.

The temple is near the top of the mountain at an elevation of 1,600 ft (450 m). The sanmon also doubles as the belfry.


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