Temple 10: Kirihataji

Kirihataji (Temple of Cut Cloth) is one of those on this pilgrimage that comes with a story. Many temples are for healing or specific worship to specific deities, but Kirihataji has a tale that is worth telling, and gives context and tone to your trek here.

Legend has it that Kukai, while traveling met a girl along the way. He stopped nearby and for seven days performed various religious rituals. The girl looked after Kukai dutifully and during his stay wove cloth. Kukai asked her for some cloth to make new leggings and the girl gave it to him without hesitation. In addition, she also gave him more so that he could replace his traveling clothes.

Kukai asked after the girl to learn more of her story. It turns out that the young girl was an unexpected pregnancy that was the result of a forbidden relationship in the high court of Kyoto. The girls mother had prayed at Kiyomizudera that her baby would be a girl and thus not a target for court enemies as someone who could assume position and inheritance at a later time. The goddess, Kannon, appeared to the mother and instructed her to flee to Shikoku to be safe from harm. The girl claimed to have dreams of the Buddha appearing to her and instructing her to take care of any and all who came her way.

Kukai made a statue of the girl in celebration of her story and when it was completed he cut her hair and made her a nun. The girl herself turned into the embodiment of Kannon on the spot.

As you walk up the 330 steps to the top it is said that it is good luck to put one yen coins on the stairs as you go up.

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