Saturday, May 28, 2022

Kiyotakisan Magnificent Cave Temple

Kiyotakisan Magnificent Cave Temple

Kiyotakisan Magnificent Cave Temple.

Above the main gate into Kiyotakisan Temple on Shodoshima is this unusual carving of a cat. I have been unable to find the story behind it.

Kiyotakisan Magnificent Cave Temple.

Alongside the steps leading up to the gate are statues, and after entering you pass a large altar with a statue of Kobo Daishi above. The 88 temple pilgrimage on Shodoshima is dedicated to Kobo Daishi and is a small version of the famous pilgrimage on nearby Shikoku. Kiyotakisan is number 14.


Kiyotakisan Temple is a little more than  450 meters above sea level and is the highest of all the temples on the pilgrimage. The views, consequently, are stunning


There are a huge number of statues scattered around the nooks and crannies of the area around the temple, including numerous Fudo Myo statues, not surprising as this was a site for yamabushi training.

Kiyotakisan Magnificent Cave Temple.

It can take a while to find all the side trails that lead to overhangs and crevices where even more statues abound.


For the adventurous, there are chains to be used to help climb the really steep sections.

Kiyotakisan Magnificent Cave Temple.

The main hall enshrining a "hidden" Jizo leads into a cave at the base of a towering cliff.

Jake Davies image.

Another cave houses a Fudo and this is where the Goma fire rituals are held. Unfortunately when I visited it was locked and there was no staff around.


This is the largest of the Fudo statues, measuring 10 meters from the base up to the top of the flames.


I was there at Christmas, so the red foliage had passed, but the views are worth it any time of the year.

Japan Book Reviews


  1. wonderful statues ! thank you very much !

  2. Your description is so captivating I will make it a point to visit the next time I am in Japan.

  3. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the interior when walking there in 2017. A small rabbit warren of tunnels leading to various parts of the temple. Very low ceilings and much butting of the head! I can't really comment on the statuary there, but it was a special place to be sure.