SETOUCHI TOURS​

SETOUCHI TOURS

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Ryōzen-ji is temple No. 1 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, or Henro. It stands near the foot of the Sanuki Mountains in the Tokushima rift valley. The total length of the Shikoku pilgrimage is approximately 1,460 km. For many pilgrims, this is the temple where they make their vow to complete the pilgrimage. At the end of the pilgrimage, some pilgrims like to return to Ryōzen-ji as a sign of thanksgiving and to complete the circle, although this isn’t considered a traditional practice.

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Founded by Gyōki at the direction of Emperor Shōmu, Kūkai later visited in 815.  A seated Buddha holding a ball is thought to be by Kūkai.

During the Muromachi period, the temple enjoyed the patronage of the Miyoshi clan. The two-storied pagoda was built  between 1394 and 1428. In the past, Ryōzen-ji was regarded as one of the three great temples of Awa, and it boasted magnificent premises. However, in 1582, the temple was almost completely destroyed by Chōsokabe Motochika. It was finally rebuilt by the lord of the Awa domain, Hachisuka Mitsutaka, but in 1891 during the suppression of Buddhism, a fire destroyed all the buildings other than the two-storey pagoda. Since then, it has been laboriously reconstructed. The present main hall was rebuilt in 1908 and restored in 1964.

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In 815, when Kūkai was walking around Shikoku from the northeast, he conducted prayers and austerities here for 37 days, hoping to establish the location as a place where people could free themselves from the 88 worldly desires. At that time, Kūkai witnessed a scene of many monks listening intently to an old master who preached Buddhism. It reminded him of the Buddha preaching to his disciples at Vulture Peak in India. Kūkai called the place Ryōzen-ji, a name that suggests transplanting the sacred mountain of India to Japan.

There he enshrined the little Buddha effigy that he carried with him, a statue of the new-born Buddha. This indicated his intention to make Ryōzen-ji the first temple of an 88-temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. The new-born Buddha statue is a small bronze about 14 cm tall dating from around 650. However, the earliest written mention of Ryōzen-ji as the first pilgrimage temple dates to 1687. Before, and indeed for a long time after that, pilgrims started at the temple most convenient to the one of many ports around Shikoku where they landed.

In 815, when Kūkai was walking around Shikoku from the northeast, he conducted prayers and austerities here for 37 days, hoping to establish the location as a place where people could free themselves from the 88 worldly desires. At that time, Kūkai witnessed a scene of many monks listening intently to an old master who preached Buddhism. It reminded him of the Buddha preaching to his disciples at Vulture Peak in India. Kūkai called the place Ryōzen-ji, a name that suggests transplanting the sacred mountain of India to Japan.

There he enshrined the little Buddha effigy that he carried with him, a statue of the new-born Buddha. This indicated his intention to make Ryōzen-ji the first temple of an 88-temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. The new-born Buddha statue is a small bronze about 14 cm tall dating from around 650. However, the earliest written mention of Ryōzen-ji as the first pilgrimage temple dates to 1687. Before, and indeed for a long time after that, pilgrims started at the temple most convenient to the one of many ports around Shikoku where they landed.

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In 815, when Kūkai was walking around Shikoku from the northeast, he conducted prayers and austerities here for 37 days, hoping to establish the location as a place where people could free themselves from the 88 worldly desires. At that time, Kūkai witnessed a scene of many monks listening intently to an old master who preached Buddhism. It reminded him of the Buddha preaching to his disciples at Vulture Peak in India. Kūkai called the place Ryōzen-ji, a name that suggests transplanting the sacred mountain of India to Japan.

There he enshrined the little Buddha effigy that he carried with him, a statue of the new-born Buddha. This indicated his intention to make Ryōzen-ji the first temple of an 88-temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. The new-born Buddha statue is a small bronze about 14 cm tall dating from around 650. However, the earliest written mention of Ryōzen-ji as the first pilgrimage temple dates to 1687. Before, and indeed for a long time after that, pilgrims started at the temple most convenient to the one of many ports around Shikoku where they landed.

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In 815, when Kūkai was walking around Shikoku from the northeast, he conducted prayers and austerities here for 37 days, hoping to establish the location as a place where people could free themselves from the 88 worldly desires. At that time, Kūkai witnessed a scene of many monks listening intently to an old master who preached Buddhism. It reminded him of the Buddha preaching to his disciples at Vulture Peak in India. Kūkai called the place Ryōzen-ji, a name that suggests transplanting the sacred mountain of India to Japan.

There he enshrined the little Buddha effigy that he carried with him, a statue of the new-born Buddha. This indicated his intention to make Ryōzen-ji the first temple of an 88-temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. The new-born Buddha statue is a small bronze about 14 cm tall dating from around 650. However, the earliest written mention of Ryōzen-ji as the first pilgrimage temple dates to 1687. Before, and indeed for a long time after that, pilgrims started at the temple most convenient to the one of many ports around Shikoku where they landed.

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