Monday, May 3, 2021

Kongojoji Temple 100 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage


Probably the most famous part of Kongojoji Temple in Yamaga, Kumamoto is the circular stone gate.  Built in 1804 by a mason called Kikuchi, it uses the technology used to construct what are called "spectacles bridges" in Japan. It is nowadays touted as a "marriage power spot"

According to legend the temple was founded by Kukai himself who reputedly spent nine days here. It is a Shingon temple, as are all the temples on this pilgrimage, and the honzon is a Yakushi Nyorai.

There is a renovated Kannon-do (bottom photo) that I believe is the focus of the pilgrimage, and there were plenty of Kannon statues around.

In the 15th century, the local hot spring suddenly stopped, and a priest at the temple is credited with performing ceremonies that caused it to start up again. Paper lanterns donated after the event became the basis for the town's  famous lantern festival.

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