Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tsurugake Kannon Saifukuji Temple 76 Kyushu pilgrimage


Saifukuji Temple, number 76 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage, is located on a mountainside overlooking the Sasa River north of Sasebo, Nagasaki.

The road up to the temple was a long gentle slope, for which I was grateful. The biggest building was a very large, modern house, I'm guessing the priest's residence.

A small main hall had a statue of Kobo Daishi standing outside it.

There were rows of Mizuko Jizo lining the approach.

The most interesting thing was the okunoin of the temple, a cave in the cliff behind the main hall.

It is said that the cave had been used by yamabushi, mountain ascetics, since the Heian Period.

It is actually not really a cave anymore as the ceiling has collapsed, leaving a stone bridge, or arch.

There were many small altars within the okunoin, and, not surprisingly,  a predominance of Fudo statues.

The temple itself is actually not so old, being founded in the late Meiji Period, but its origins go back a bit further.

At the end of the 16th century was the Warring States Period was coming to a close, a battle took place here between two rival clans.

In the late 18th century the Hirado Lord laced 5 statues on the mountain, including a Kannon, as a prayer memorial to the samurai who had died. Over time the statues were forgotten and buried by landslides.

In 1894, a local man, a devout worshipper of Kannon, became mortally ill and had a vision showing where the statues were buried. His family dug in the spot and found the statues, including the Eleven-Faced Kannon which is the honzon of Saifukuji. The man was miraculously healed and the Kannon has become famous ever since.

The previous post was on the Sechibaru Coal Mine Museum at the foot of the mountain.


  1. beautiful temple ! thanks a lot !

  2. Very snazzy bibs on the Jizo, and I really like the last photo. Enjoyed the historical tidbits, too.

  3. Amazing backdrop/scenery. Wish we had gone there with you. Lily