Konpira-san, also known as Kotohira-gu, is a shrine dedicated to sailors and seafaring. Historically, it was a place of worship as both a Shintō shrine and a Buddhist temple worshiping the syncretic deity Konpira Gongen, but it was officially declared a shrine at the beginning of the Meiji period. It has been the object of pilgrimages since early times.
The shrine has several buildings located at intervals on the side of steep Mount Zōzu, linked by a long path with many steps. There are 785 steps to the main shrine, and a total of 1,368 steps to the inner shrine. Climbing up all the steps is an effort, but it’s rewarded by some beautiful sights and views. Those who were disinclined to walk could pay to be carried up in palanquin by porters, but this service was discontinued in the 2010s when the porters became too old. The main shrine overlooks the town of Kotohira. Next to the shrine is Ema Hall which displays plates and pictures of ships, battleships and even space rockets and a mini-sub.
At the bottom of the path up to the shrine are several attractive souvenir shops, restaurants, and a sake museum which are worth a look.
Konpira Shrine has a close association with the esoteric Buddhist temple Hashikura-ji which is located on the southern side of the Sanuki Mountains where the Shintō-Buddhist deity Konpira Gongen is also worshiped. We recommend a walking tour that takes in Konpira Shrine and Hashikura-ji Temple, spanning two prefectures.
Name in Japanese: 金刀比羅
Address: 892-1 Kotohira-chō, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa 766-8501