Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shikoku 88 Temple 19 Tatsue-ji


Tatsueji is known as a "sekisho", a barrier gate or spiritual checkpoint. There are stories of pilgrims who could not enter the temple grounds and therefore not continue with the pilgrimage because they were impure of heart.


Believed to be founded by Gyogi, who carved a miniature Jizo as the main deity, Kukai later visited and carved a much larger statue and enshrined the original inside it. It is now a Shingon temple.


Like so many other temples, Tatsueji was burned down by Chosokabe and then rebuilt afterwards at its present location. The current building date from 1977, built after another fire.


The very nice ceiling paintings in the new main hall were painted by art students from Tokyo.


In a small concrete shrine in the grounds are the old bell rope with a womans hair attached. This is from the most famous story of Tatsueji, the story of Okyo. Okyo, a woman from Hamada here in Iwami was sold as a girl to a brothel in Hiroshima. Later resold to Osaka she met and fell in love with a man called Yosuke. They both ran away and returned to Hamada and married. Later she began an affair with a man called Chozo and together they plotted and killed Yosuke. They ran away to Shikoku and began the pilgrimage. The Shikoku Pilgrimage has always had a reputation as a place where people could hide. When they got as far as Tatsueji Okyos hair became entangled in the bell rope. She confessed their sins to the priest and then devoted their lives to being devout Buddhists and lived out their lives in Tatsue.


  1. I've got fond memories of the place since I camped around the side of the Hondo.

  2. Wow--the Japanese religion(s) and their myriad variations are so incredibly complex. I enjoy reading your posts about these temples and their deities, but I wonder if you can recommend some reading that would offer some background information on the Japanese religious traditions. I'm mainly only aware of the big general categories of Buddhism and Shinto, and alway aware that there seem to be a lot of subsects of Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. All these deities are hard to sort out! But enjoyable to read about.

  3. Hi Anon.... its a complex and rich subject about which I am really just a beginner..... a good starting place would be