Is a tanuki (raccoon dog) god watching the historical temple in a sacred land of mountain worship?
According to legend, the temple was founded by venerable Ganjin, coming from Tang (today's China). The sacred temple of Mountain Buddhism is on the top of Mount Yashima and its main hall is designated as an Important Cultural Property. In 815, venerable Kukai visited the place by order of Emperor, moved the temple to the current location, carved a Kannon Image with 11 faces and many arms, and enshrined the image in the temple.
What is most unique in the temple is Minoyama Daimyojin, a tanuki (raccoon dog) general who is said to change himself into different shapes in order to play tricks on people. There are legends such as that he, in the figure of an old man, guided Kukai, and fought battles as a Japanese soldier during the Japanese-Sino and Japanese-Russo Wars (1894-1895 and 1904-1905). Today, he is enshrined as a god to bless people with family harmony, relationships and success in nighttime entertainment business.
The main hall is a precious building believed to be reconstructed at the end of the Kamakura Period (around 1330) and designated also as Important Cultural Property. You can view the Kannon Image, picture scrolls, folding screens, Buddhist images and relics of a large-scale civil war fought in the area in Yashimaji Hobutsu-kan (treasure house) for 500 yen.
Address: 1808 Yashimahigashi-machi, Takamatsu City, Kagawa
Hours open to visitors: 9:00-17:00 (treasure house)
Admission Fee: Free admission to the grounds (500 yen to enter the treasure house)
Directions: 17 minutes by shuttle bus from JR Takamatsu Yashima Station (2 hours and 40 minutes form Shin-Osaka Station) to Yashima Sanjo. (Car) 15 minutes from Takamatsu Chuo Interchange on the Takamatsu Expressway.