Kannonji Temple

Japan Temples & Shrines: Kannonji Temple, Tokushima 観音寺

Kannonji Temple is the sixteenth temple on the 88 Temple Shikoku Pilgrimage around Shikoku that honors Kobo Daishi. It is one of a cluster of five temples located in the suburbs of Tokushima city that can easily be visited together in a half day. It is only 1.7 kilometers from the previous temple, Kokubunji, and 76 kilometers from the start of the pilgrimage. There is a second temple on the pilgrimage named Kannonji, number 69 in Kagawa.

The impressive Bell Tower gate at Kannonji Temple in the suburbs of Tokushima City.
The impressive Bell Tower gate at Kannonji Temple in the suburbs of Tokushima city
A lone pilgrim prays at Kannonji Temple, the 16th of the 88 temples of the famous Henro pilgrimage, Shikoku.
A lone pilgrim prays at Kannonji Temple, the 16th of the 88 temples of the famous Henro pilgrimage

Kannonji History

The honzon of the temple is a Senjyu Kannon, a Thousand-Armed Kannon, and is said to be carved by Kobo Daishi.

Some sources claim he founded the temple in 816, but other sources say it was founded earlier in 741. Now in an urban area, the grounds of the temple are not very large, but as well as the main hall and the Daishi Hall there is an impressive bell tower gate and a small shrine within the compound and another just outside. Kannonji Temple is noted for a painting of a woman surrounded by flames. The story is that in the 19th century a female pilgrim by the name of Shiyo was drying her clothes next to a fire and she caught on fire. She was saved but realized she was being punished for beating her mother in her youth with burning sticks. There is also a popular statue of a Yonaki Jizo who helps quiet babies who cry in the night.

Statue of Yonaki Jizo, known for calming babies for frequently cry during the night.
Statue of Yonaki Jizo, known for calming babies who frequently cry during the night, Shikoku
Restored relief carving on the main hall of Kannonji Temple, Shikoku.
Restored relief carving on the main hall of Kannonji Temple

Kannonji Temple Access

49-2 Kokufu-cho-kannonji
Tokushima-shi
Tokushima 779-3123
Tel: 0886-42-2375

A ten minute walk from Ko Station on the JR Tokushima Line from Tokushima Station. Ko Station is just over 10 minutes by train from Tokushima.


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