Konji-ji is the inner sanctuary of Temple 13, Dainichi-ji. It stands at an elevation of 310 m and offers a good view of Tokushima city. You can drive to the temple, or walk the pilgrim’s trail on the way from Temple 12, Shōsan-ji to Dainichi-ji.
What to see
In the main hall on the right as you go up the stairs there’s a painting of a family of four in white pilgrim’s clothing, a father, mother and two children. On his back, the father is carrying a small shrine. There are three deities on a cloud – Zaō Gongen, Fudō Myōō and Kūkai. The family lived in Kōchi in the Meiji period. When one of the children fell ill, the parents prayed for him to get better. Zaō Gongen appeared to them in a dream and said that all would be well, and the boy was cured. To show their gratitude, the family embarked on the Shikoku pilgrimage and when they arrived at Konji-ji they learned that its main deity was Zaō Gongen, so to show their appreciation, they left behind the small shrine they had brought with them. It can be seen today in the small building just below the main hall.
Higher on the hill behind Konji-ji is a waterfall. A tower in the form of a lantern marks the gravesite of Teia, a priest who restored the temple in the 19th century. A narrow cave extends about 100 m to the right of the Daishi Hall, and Fudō Myōō is enshrined at the far end. The area is dotted with stone statues representing the 88 temples of Shikoku.
In the 7th century En no Gyōja, the founder of Shugendō founded Konji-ji. Kūkai visited in the 8th century and carved a statue of Zaō Gongen, placing it in a cave. Konji-ji gradually became a place of training for devotees of Shugendō and the waterfall was used for purification and ascetic practice.
Eventually the temple fell into disuse, but in the 16th century the lord of the Tokushima domain, Hachisuka Iemasa restored the temple and presented a statue of Zaō Gongen. Again the temple was neglected until the 19th century when it was restored thanks to the efforts of Teia.
Name in Japanese: 建治寺
Address: Konji-230 Nyutachō, Tokushima, 779-3133