Wakayama Prefecture (Nachi Katsuura Town, Wakayama City, Kinokawa City), Osaka Prefecture (Izumi City, Fujiidera City, Ibaraki City, Minoh City), Nara Prefecture (Takatori Town, Asuka Villege, Sakurai City, Nara City), Kyoto Prefecture (Uji City, Kyoto City, Kameoka City, Miyazu City, Maizuru City), Shiga Prefecture (Otsu City, Nagahama City, Omihachiman City), Hyogo Prefecture (Takarazuka City, Kato City, Kasai City, Himeji City), Gifu Prefecture (Ibigawa Town) A Journey for Preparing for Death over 1300 Years～The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage of thirty-three Buddhist temples throughout the Kansai region of Japan～
The final preparations one makes for their death aren’t simply about organizing the bits and pieces of your life. To Japanese people, this process is about pondering over just how much of a fulfilling life they were able to lead. Kindness, diligence and consideration, these are the teachings of the Buddhist deity of compassion, Kannon, who has been intimate to the Japanese people. The impetus for Kannon’s pilgrimage around the 33 temples in the Kinki area was the spiritual richness that has resided within the hearts of Japanese people since time immemorial.
Priest Tokudo, who founded Hasedera temple in Nara, one day became ill and fell into a state of apparent death, it was during this time that the judge of the afterlife Enma-daiō, the overlord of hell in Japanese Buddhist mythology, is said to have tasked him with spreading the blessing of the 33 temples in the Kinki area, the sacred grounds of Kannon, and bestowed upon him 33 seals. These 33 seals, which were proof of his promise to Enma, were brought one each to all of the 33 temples. Owing to this story, it is now understood that to carry out a pilgrimage to these locations is to personally come into contact with the compassion of Kannon and to amend one’s own behavior from within, which in turn becomes your passport to a rebirth in paradise. This is what began the pilgrimages to the 33 temples in the Kinki region, and it’s also where the act of using seals to give ink stamps to the visitors of shrines and temples began.
- The 5th temple, Fujiidera temple, standing statue of Eleven-faced, thousand eyed and thousand armed Goddess of Mercy (national treasure)
- The 15th temple, Imakumano Kannonji Temple, Main Hall
- The 27th temple, Engyoji temple, Maniden Hall
- The 32nd temple, Kannonshoji temple, standing statue of thousand eyed and thousand armed Kannon