Saturday, November 4, 2023

Onsenji Temple


Onsenji is the guardian temple of Kinosaki Onsen in Toyooka, Hyogo, and is located halfway up Daishiyama Mountain overlooking the hot spring town.

According to the legend it was founded in 738 by Dochi Shonin who spent 1,000 days in ascetic practise before a spring arose. It was traditional for visitors to visit the temple before heading to the healing baths of Kinosaki.

There are some temple structures at the base of the mountain where the steps up to te main temple begin, and the temple also has its own stop of the ropeway that goes to the mountaintop where the okunoin of the temple ( photo 8) is adjacent to the ropeway station.

The main hall of the temple dates back to the late 14th century and is the oldest wooden building in the former province of Tajima.

The honzon is a "secret buddha" and is only shown to the public once every 33 years. It is a Thousand-Armed Kannon built from a single piece of wood said to be from the same tree as the honzon of the famous Hasedera Temple in Nara.

Set among some giant trees, the temple has a Tahoto, a Shingon-style pagoda, was rebuilt in 1767.

Though the honzon is not shown, the main hall does have some nice statuary and the settings and architecture of Onsenji are quite picturesque. I will cover the main gate and lower buildings in a later post. The previous post in this series on Toyooka was the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway.


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