Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Yamaguchi Kannon: The Best Scenic Temple in Tokorozawa City

Konjō-in Hōkō-ji (金乗院 放光寺) at the top of a hill is a temple in Tokorozawa erected by the Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師). The scenery and buildings in the precinct are gorgeous. We reckon it is the best temple in the area! Not only does the temple have a scenic precinct, but you will also find Buddhist elements of various styles. Furthermore, with many dragon statues and carvings, the temple is like the home to dragons!

Kōbō Daishi is the monk who founded Kongōbu-ji Temple in Mt. Kōya, the Mother of Japanese Buddhism.

About Yamaguchi Kannon

The temple’s main image is a Thousand-Armed Kannon (千手観音). Thus, the temple, located in the Yamaguchi area, is nicknamed Yamaguchi Kannon (山口観音). While the main Kannon statue is only revealed to the public once every 33 years, another Thousand-Armed Kannon is enshrined on the altar. So, when you pray at Konjō-in, you won’t be speaking to a closed door.

What to See and Do at Yamaguchi Kannon

Before leaving the main worship hall, remember to spin the 108 small bells attached to the outer wall. If you pray while spinning all the bells, your 108 earthly desires will be eliminated, and your wish will come true! When you get to the back of the worship hall, you will be overwhelmed by the number of Jizō Bodhisattva statues there.

One unique thing about Yamaguchi Kannon is that not all buildings and Buddha statues are in Japanese style. Thanks to the previous chief priest’s high English proficiency, communication between Konjō-in and temples overseas was frequent.

The five-story pagoda, for example, is Chinese style. The previous head priest constructed it in 2009 after he was impressed by the pagoda he saw in China.

The architecture around the pagoda is mainly Chinese style, too!

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

Of course, there are things that demonstrate Konjō-in’s 1,200 years of history!

There are 33 stone Buddha statues made in the Edo period inside the Butsukuni Cave (仏国窟). Each of them represents a famous Kannon temple in the Kansai region. The cave was completed in 2009 to shelter the statues scattered in the forest at the back of the temple.

In addition, there is a horse statue where you can pray for success. The ritual came from the fact that Nitta Yoshisada (新田義貞), a famous samurai lord in the 14th century, prayed here in 1333 for his victory before he fought the war. The statue is a replica of his horse. This is probably why it looks a bit aggressive. Whether you want to pray to the horse, you should still check the statue out. You will feel as if it is looking at you no matter where you stand!

Moreover, the wooden Ema plaques there are in carrot shape because carrot is a horse’s favorite snack!

On the main worship hall’s right, the staircase leading to the five-story pagoda and the Butsukuni Cave is called the Dragon Staircase (龍の階段). The handrails on the two sides are in the shape of a dragon!

Yamaguchi Kannon’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Yamaguchi Kannon is open from 9 am to 4 pm.
  • The temple is a 7-minute walk from Seibu’s Seibu Kyūjōmae Station (西武球場前駅).

Explore Other Attractions in Tokorozawa

Click the photo for the recommended attractions in Tokorozawa City!

Tokorozawa City, next to Kawagoe, has a good mix of nature and urban elements. In particular, you will be amazed by the magnificence and uniqueness of the Kadokawa Musashino Museum’s building. The Bookshelf Theater inside the museum resembles the world of Harry Potter! In addition, you can enjoy fruit picking in Tokorozawa!

For more information, refer to our article on Tokorozawa!

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