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Temple 47, Yasaka-ji

The Temple of the Eight Slopes

Temple 47, Yasaka-ji

Yasaka-ji, The Temple of the Eight Slopes, is temple No. 47 on the Shikoku pilgrimage, or Henro. It stands on a hill in the south of Matsuyama.

What to see

A long, straight road leads up to it past farmhouses, and from a distance, the temple has a festive, colourful look about it. The roofs are a mix of copper green and dark tile rising amid lush greenery, and the grounds are adorned with rows of bright red flags. The bridge over the dry moat into the temple also has a gaily painted roof.

The temple has a huge graveyard with views towards Matsuyama beyond. Under the concrete main building is a cool, dark basement with 8,000 ceramic Amida Buddha statuettes purchased by devotees from around the country, each with the person’s name on it. Another unusual feature is the two little tunnels representing the Buddhist heaven and hell.

Legends

Emon Saburō, the first person to walk the pilgrimage route in Kūkai’s footsteps, is said to have lived in this area. Close to Yasaka-ji are eight tumuli, which are said to be the graves of Emon Saburō’s eight sons. The name of the temple is likely to have taken its name from this feature (likely etymology: yatsu zuka = eight tombs).

Information

Name in Japanese: 八坂寺

Pronunciation: yasakaji

Address: 773 Jorurimachi, Matsuyama, Ehime 791-1133

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