Monday, September 5, 2022

Hotogekataki Cave Temple on Shodoshima


Located at the base of a towering cliff in the lower Kankakei Gorge on Shodoshima Island, Hotogekataki is temple number 20 on the Shodoshima 88 temple pilgrimage, a smaller copy of the famous, and nearby, Shikoku pilgrimage.

The temizuya where visitors purify their mouths and hands is not a typical basin, but rather a spring-fed pool of milky-blue water watched over by a statue of Fudo Myoo.

However the usual dragon was also there.

There is a small, concrete, Daishi Hall and a bell tower, also concrete, but the main hall of the temple is a cave, something that is not unusual on this pilgrimage.

The entrance to the cave is quite small and flanked by small atars and statues. The interior is surprisingly roomy with a natural central pillar.

The honzon of the temple is a yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha. Most surprising was a woodstove with a chimney through the solid rock. An old lady was on duty and she gave me some oranges as osettai, gifts or alms for pilgrims.

This was my second day walking this pilgrimage and the previous temple was high above, Kiyotakisan, was another cave temple, and actually the highest temple on the route.

Hotogekataki has breat views out across the lower part of the Kankakei Gorge, one of the three top gorges in Japan. Though it was Christmas day there was still plenty of autumn color around as Shodoshima has a very mild climate.

From here I once again start to climb, the next temple, also a cave temple is about halfway up the gorge....


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