Ishiteji Temple 石手寺
A temple built in honor of Japan's most famous Buddhist monk
In close proximity to Dogo Onsen you will find Ishiteji Temple, a temple of Shikoku's famed 88 Temple Pilgrimage said to be built in honor of Kukai (Kobo Daishi), a celebrated Buddhist monk. Visit this temple to learn about Japanese history and in the process, see many unusual artifacts.
How to Get There
Reach Ishiteji Temple via the Dogo Onsen tram stop. The temple is a 15-20 minute walk away, or a short bus journey. Dogo Onsen is a tram line terminus. From JR Matsuyama Station, take tram line five. From Matsuyama-shi Station, take tram line three.
Curiouser and curiouser
Ishiteji Temple features many unusual elements. At either side of the Niomon Gate, you can see two giant straw sandals. Legend has it that if you are suffering from leg ailments and you touch these, you will be cured.
Dozens of statues are housed in the temple, an oddly curated collection ranging from skeletal Buddhas to baroque dragons. Discover the second hidden temple that is accessed via a cave, which contains a statue for each of the temples of the 88 Temple Pilgrimage and represents the many forms of Buddha.
In the central courtyard, you can see a stunning three-story pagoda and a bell tower. Bathe in fragrant incense that fills the large bronze urn. On the hill above Ishiteji Temple is a large statue of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Japanese Shingon Buddhism, presiding over the temple.