Day 23: No.51 Ishide-ji (石手寺)

Instead of the main gate of the temple, turret-like building welcome pilgrims first

There’re many shops along the approach to the main gate

Ishide-ji has unique approach to the main gate. A covered path leads to the gate, with stores selling items for worship lined up beside it. Kittens are lounging on the pathway, and I feel like time is passing slowly.

The main gate of No.51 Ishide-ji – designated as national treasure

The Nio-statue with a powerful expression

The main gate, designated as a national treasure, is very impressive, and the Nio-statue and the huge straw sandals in the gate are also fantastic.

Three-storied pagoda

The elephant figures next to the main gate create chaotic and mysterious atmosphere. After passing through the gate, the first thing that catches my eye is the three-storied pagoda on the right hand side.

This temple seems to be quite popular for the local people

The main temple of No.51 Ishide-ji

There’re a lot of paper cranes and ema (votive picture frames) in the precincts of the temple, indicating that this is where many people pay their respects. Ishide-ji is quite large temple, and I was a little confused at first because I could not distinguish which one is the main temple or the Taishi-do from many different buildings.

It’s a bit strange feeling to see all sorts of things placed here…


I thought this (above two pictures) was the main temple, but it wasn’t

There is a magnificent hall next to the Nokyo-jyo, but I could not find the box to put the votive card, so I was confused. After all, it’s not the main temple. However, I found that Ishide-ji also keeps a fairly ordinary structure with the main temple in front of the main gate and the Taishi-do on the right side of it.

In the precincts, thankful stories of the priests are played all the time. Apart from the historical and impressive buildings, I feel it’s bit disappointing about this bit too loud sound and the chaotic stuff such as dedication of Indian elephants, although they might have some relations with the history of this quite unique and interesting temple.

The precincts of No.51 Ishide-ji
The temple stamp of No.51 Ishide-ji

Dedicated toYakushi-Nyorai (薬師如来)
Founded byGyoki-Bosatsu (行基菩薩)
DenominationShingon-sect Busan-group (真言宗豊山派)
Mantraおん ころころ せんだり まとうぎ そわか
On Korokoro Sendari Matougi Sowaka
Next templeNo.52 Taisan-ji (11.8 Km away)
Previous templeNo.50 Hanta-ji (2.8 Km away)
No.51 Ishide-ji