Some Information: The name of the temple comes from “8 baked chestnuts”. When Kobo Daishi was on his way to China, he stopped here and planted 8 chestnuts and on his return he saw that they grew into great big trees. Thus, the name.
Interesting Features: To get to the top of this mountain, and to visit the temple, you have the option of climbing or taking the ropeway (cablecar). On this visit, we took the cablecar and the view was spectacular.
The cablecars have been running for 50 years. They are meticulously cared for and you can see how much care the attendants have for these faithful vehicles. Beautiful!
The name of the mountain is, Gozenkan, which means, “Five sword mountain”. It was named such in the year 827 when Kobo Daishi came here and saw five swords that appeared in the sky. The top of the mountain has five large rocks on the top which also lend credence to the name.
The surrounding area of the temple is really quite spectacular. We arrived in the cold winter of January, but even so, the place was very much alive. I would like to re-visit in another season to see it even more lively.
One thing that was quite striking is that even though there were a great number of people here, it was also quite serene. There are many places to walk about and to take a good look at the statues and temple buildings all around.
This is something that is interesting to see in Japan, attempts to bring the old and new together. Throughout many temples we can still see artifacts and historical buildings of the past. But in amidst all of it we see elements of the new as well. Buddhism does not appear to be fastened only to the past, but also manifests itself in the present, making links, and drawing people towards the ideal of peace, harmony, and being in the moment.
It seems that at every turn there is something more interesting to observe and take in. The curved shapes of the rooftops, the intricate lanterns, the serene-faces on the statues, the incense wafting upwards…
What was also nice to see on the day we visited were kids running around. Temples are places to pray and make wishes, to reflect and to seek understanding. But it is also a place for the living to laugh and talk, and to be in the moment.
Distance to the next temple: 6.5 kilometres.