The Kaiganzan Iwaya-ji temple is the 45th fudasho temple in Shikoku’s pilgrimage of 88 sacred sites and is a historic holy site in mountain worship. With its huge rock formation that awes viewers and the virgin grove of Japanese horse chestnut trees that surrounds it—which has been selected as one of the “Top 100 Natural Spots in Japan”—the site has been designated a National Place of Scenic Beauty. The temple’s Daishi-dō hall is a nationally-designated Important Cultural Property as well.
Iwaya-ji’s characteristic feature is the scenery it offers, with peculiarly shaped rock formations standing in rows. The current Hondō main hall celebrated completion in 1927. The hall, which at a glance appears to be of smaller construction than the Daishi-dō hall, is unique among temples considered Shikoku holy sites. In accordance with its origin as a temple where the entire mountain is considered the honzon object of worship, it has been constructed to form a whole together with the huge stone face behind it, Kongōkai-hō (“Diamond Realm Peak”). The temple’s honzon object of worship, an image of Fudōmyō-ō, is a hibutsu, meaning that it is kept concealed from view. On the 28th day of each month (the day associated with Fudōmyō-ō), goma fire rituals are performed.
Iwaya-ji is also famous as the sole temple among Shikoku’s pilgrimage of 88 sacred sites where cars cannot be parked alongside the temple grounds. Filled with an otherworldly stillness and a prayerful air, this is a site with a mystical aura where any who come to visit will sense a different feeling in the air.
Fee for nōkyō offerings
With nōkyō-chō stamp register: ¥300
At Iwaya-ji temple, three activity courses are offered to give visitors chances to experience the sights, sounds and senses of Buddhist teachings in earnest.
Come learn about the Buddha’s existence and Kōbō-Daishi’s teachings with a serene state of mind and spirit through practices including an esoteric form of meditation called aji-kan (esoteric meditation), shakyō (sutra-copying) and shabutsu (Buddhist image-tracing).
・Aji-kan: An original form of Shingon sect meditation
・Shakyō: Tracing sutras
・Shabutsu: Tracing the form of the Buddha
* Reservations required for all options