Kukai (Kobo Daishi), a famed monk and founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism, established the Shikoku 88-temple Pilgrimage route by visiting and building some of the temples about 1,200 years ago. Ever since, the route used to visit these 88 temples, spanning a length of 1,100?1,400 kilometers (684?870 miles), and the act of visiting them have been known in Japanese as the Shikoku Junrei (lit. "Shikoku Pilgrimage") and the O-henro (a term referring to both the pilgrimage and its pilgrims). Today, many Buddhist believers still visit Shikoku each year to take this journey, and the town of Kumakogen-cho is located right in the middle of the 88-temple route.
Situated right in the middle of the Shikoku 88-temple Pilgrimage route, Kumakogen is home to the 44th pilgrimage site, Daihoji Temple, and the 45th pilgrimage site, Iwayaji Temple. The former is surrounded by old-growth forest and feels as if it is enveloped in an atmosphere of mystery and wonder, and the latter is a mountain temple seemingly embedded into the side of a massive rock face. Even the roads leading to the temples are surrounded by beautiful verdant scenery. Visit Kumakogen and purify both body and mind while reenergizing amidst Mother Nature.
The Shikoku 88-temple Pilgrimage is not a simple hiking trip or commemorative stamp collection course. Refrain from taking more than one nokyo-cho (booklet for receiving stamps from each temple visited) per person. Pilgrims on this journey obey the ten Buddhist precepts and travel throughout the countryside of Shikoku together in spirit with Kukai in order to purify their own heart. Please remind yourself of why you chose to take this journey and observe basic etiquette and rules.
Situated right in the middle of the 88-temple pilgrimage route, Daihoji Temple is known as the naka-fudasho (middle pilgrimage site). The temple grounds are surrounded by old-growth forest and feel as if they are enveloped in an atmosphere of mystery and wonder. It is said that the Emperor Go-Shirakawa, an emperor of the 12th century, recovered from his illness after visiting here, and as a result many still come to pray for divine assistance in overcoming illnesses.
In 1741, 3,000 local peasants initiated an uprising in response to what they viewed as unfair taxation, and Head Priest Yoshihide of Daihoji Temple stepped in as a mediator. The temple also played a role during the Kamisuki Uprising of 1787 in Tosa Domain (present-day Kochi Prefecture).
A burial site for the younger sister of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, comprising a hall and a gorinto pagoda. Visiting this site is said to bring miraculous cures for brain- and head-related illnesses.
This memorial was erected for the memorial service held on the 33rd anniversary of the celebrated poet and cultural figure Matsuo Basho's death.
This mountain temple towers above, seemingly embedded into the side of the massive stone face and surrounded by protruding, oddly shaped rocks. The Daishi-do Hall, a nationally designated Important Cultural Property, incorporates rose-shaped ornamentations and other Western-architecture elements.
A narrow passageway that passes underneath a stone stairway to the main hall.
A statue located behind the Kokuzo-do Hall, down below the nokyo-cho booklet stamping location in the corner
Narrow passageway located along the mountain path leading to the Okunoin and Daishi-do Halls.
An invigorating tune sung by pilgrims. The song and lyrics were composed by the current head priest.
Oriental dollarbird, Malaysian hawk-cuckoo, narcissus flycatcher, oriental turtle dove, narcissus flycatcher, brown-eared bulbul and lesser cuckoo
Diplazium okudairae, Diplaziopsis cavaleriana, Carex tumidula
known in Japanese as the Henro-michi, is used by pilgrims traveling on foot between the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Although standard automobile roads are included in the Henro-michi route, certain sections feature alternate routes for pilgrims traveling by car, motorcycle or bicycle who are unable to navigate narrow sections of the walking path. These sections deviating from the walking paths are not considered to be part of the official Henro-michi.
This mark indicates Henro-mich