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Chugoku 33 Kannon Temple Pilgrimage

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Chugoku 33 Kannon Temple Pilgrimage

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Chugoku 33 Kannon Temple Pilgrimage [1] (中国三十三観音霊場 chugoku san-juu-san kannon reijou) was designated a pilgrimage route in 1981. Each of the thirty-three temples on this pilgrimage route worships Kannon, the goddess of mercy.

Although the pilgrimage route officially consists of thirty-three temples, there are an additional four temples considered to be "Special Sacred Temples" (特別霊場 tokubetsu-reijou) that, despite not being given numbers, are considered to be part of the pilgrimage route.

The Pilgrimage[edit]

The Chugoku 33 Kannon Temple Pilgrimage (chugoku san-juu-san kannon reijou) is a pilgrimage of 37 temples devoted to the Kannon incarnation of Buddha (Kannon is the female god of mercy in Buddhist belief.) There are 33 temples on the main route and 4 special temples. Unlike the Shikoku and Saigoku pilgrimages it does not have a long history but was designated a pilgrimage route in only 1981. So it has been going for about 30 years.

The pilgrimage lacks the gravitas and solemnity of the longer established routes. It also lacks the fun-loving busses full of henro out to enjoy themselves. At times it gives the impression that it has been created on the basis of “the other pilgrimages bring a lot of tourists to their area, perhaps, if we have one, we will get a tourism bonus too.” As a result of its youth it does not have the dense infrastructure of the older routes - promotional material, English language brochures, signposts, ryokans and permanent staff to run stamp issue offices. In some cases it appears to have been forgotten at the temples that they are part of a larger grouping and certainly, the Tourist Information Offices along the route are only dimly aware of it.

There is little in the way of promotional material for the tour. Tourist Information Offices had rarely heard of it. They have a single brochure and the information in it is in Japanese only, Except in a few cases there were few ryokans clustered around the temples and few shukobo (temple lodgings).

The trip is worth doing and some of the temples are themselves very beautiful and some are in spectacular locations. Also the route takes in some very interesting territory, well away from the usual tourist routes.


1. Saidaiji Temple 西大寺 (Okayama, Okayama Prefecture)
2. Yokeiji Temple 餘慶寺 (Setouchi, Okayama Prefecture)
3. Shorakuji Temple 正楽寺 (Bizen, Okayama Prefecture)
Special Sacred Temple: Tanjouji 誕生寺 (Kumenan, Okayama Prefecture)
4. Kiyamaji Temple 木山寺 (Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture)
5. Hokai-in Temple 法界院 (Okayama, Okayama Prefecture)
6. Rendaiji Temple 蓮台寺 (Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture)
7. Entsuji Temple 円通寺 (Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture)
8. Myouou-in Temple 明王院 (Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture)
9. Joudoji Temple 浄土寺 (Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture)
Special Sacred Temple: Saikokuji Temple 西國寺 (Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture)
10. Senkoji Temple 千光寺 (Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture)
11. Kojoji Temple 向上寺 (Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture)
12. Buttsuji Temple 佛通寺 (Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture)
13. Mitakidera Temple 三瀧寺 (Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture)
14. Daisho-in Temple 大聖院 (Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture)
Special Sacred Temple: Hannyaji Temple 般若寺 (Hirao, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
15. Kanyoji Temple 漢陽寺 (Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
16. Tojunji Temple 洞春寺 (Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
17. Ryuzoji Temple 龍蔵寺 (Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
18. Sorinji Temple 宗隣寺 (Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
19. Kozanji Temple 功山寺 (Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
20. Daisho-in Temple 大照院 (Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
21. Kannon-in Temple 観音院 (Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
22. Tadaji Temple 多陀寺 (Hamada, Shimane Prefecture)
23. Kandoji Temple 神門寺 (Izumo, Shimane Prefecture)
24. Zenjoji Temple 禅定寺 (Unnan, Shimane Prefecture)
25. Gakuenji Temple 鰐淵寺 (Izumo, Shimane Prefecture)
26. Ichihataji Temple 一畑寺 (Izumo, Shimane Prefecture)
27. Unjuji Temple 雲樹寺 (Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture)
28. Kiyomizudera Temple 清水寺 (Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture)
29. Daisenji Temple 大山寺 (Daisen, Tottori Prefecture)
30. Chokokuji Temple 長谷寺 (Kurayoshi, Tottori Prefecture)
31. Sanbutsuji Temple (Mitokusan Nageiredo) 三仏寺 (Misasa, Tottori Prefecture)
Special Sacred Temple: Maniji Temple 摩尼寺 (Tottori, Tottori Prefecture)
32. Kannon-in Temple 観音院 (Tottori, Tottori Prefecture)
33. Daiun-in Temple 大雲院 (Tottori, Tottori Prefecture)


Touring a temple is sometimes more fun on special occasions and festival days. Below are some festivals and special events held at the temples along the pilgrimage route.

  • Spring Kannon Matsuri - A festival dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy known for its inclusion of fire-walking (walking on hot coals) held on the second Sunday in February at Ryuzoji Temple in Yamaguchi
  • Saidaiji Eyo - The infamous Naked Man Festival held at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama Held on the third Saturday in February.
  • Eshiki Hoyo Originating back in the Muromachi Period it is an intangible cultural property of Okayama Prefecture and one of the top three festivals of its kind featuring a procession and ceremony of gold-masked priests. Held on the third Sunday in April at Tanjoji Temple in Kumenan.


Other Pilgrimage Routes[edit]

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