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Temple 30, Zenraku-ji

The Temple of True Joy

Temple 30, Zenraku-ji

Zenraku-ji is temple No. 30 on the Shikoku pilgrimage, or Henro.

What to see

Zenraku-ji stands in a subsidiary position to the right of Tosa Shrine which has its own long approach. The temple and shrine create an impression of an important religious centre.

A large stone statue of the eleven-faced Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, stands on the right of the approach to Tosa Shrine. Entering the shrine grounds, there’s a washbasin, followed by the Daishi Hall dating from the Taishō period and the main hall built in 1982. Between them are a statue of Kūkai and a statue of Fudō Myōō. Opposite the main hall are the Jizō Hall, the Koyasu Jizo and Umeji Jizo halls. A storehouse and temple office are located to the left of the Daishi Hall.

History

According to temple legend, Zenraku-ji was founded by Kūkai in 810 as a subsidiary temple to  Tosa Shrine. The temple was destroyed in a fire during the Onin period (1467-1469), but flourished under the patronage of the second lord of the Tosa domain, Yamauchi Tadayoshi.  The temple was closed during the movement to abolish Buddhism in the Meiji period, and it’s role was taken over by nearby Anraku-ji Temple. Zenraku-ji only regained its full status as a pilgrimage temple in 1994.

Information

Name in Japanese: 善楽寺

Pronunciation: zenraku-ji

Address: 2-23-11 Ikkushinane, Kochi-shi, Kochi 781-8131

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