Temple 73, Shusshakaji

第73番札所 我拝師山 求聞持院 出釈迦寺
【History of the temple】
The founding of Shusshakaji is associated with one of the legends of Kobo Daishi's childhood, the Shashingatake Engi. When Kobo Daishi was seven years old and was called Mao, he climbed Mt. Gahaishi. He said, "In the future, I want to be a Buddhist priest and spread the teachings of Buddha to save many people. If my wish is to be fulfilled, then please appear to me, Shaka Nyorai (the Historical Buddha). If it does not come true, I will give up my life and devote myself to the Buddhas." Then he threw himself off the precipice. A purple cloud appeared. Shaka Nyorai and a celestial maiden with wings descended and embraced Kobo Daishi in the cloud. Years later, Kobo Daishi, whose life was saved and whose wish was fulfilled, built a temple on Mount Gahaishi, carved a statue of Shaka Nyorai, and dedicated it to the temple.

This place is called Shashingatake Zenjo. Formerly one of the sacred sites in the Shikoku Pilgrimage, it is now the inner temple of Shusshakaji, and is located about 50 minutes’ walk up a steep hill from the main temple.

Shusshakaji has another name, Gumonjiin. This comes from a story that Kobo Daishi performed the Gumonji Ho ritual, reciting the mantra of Kokuzo Bosatsu (the Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Memory) one million times. It is said that the performance of this ritual gives power for academic achievement and prevents forgetfulness.

The place where Kobo Daishi threw himself off the rock is about 50 meters farther up the mountain. Looking down, the bottom of the valley is deep enough to make your head spin. Looking out, there is a spectacular view of the Sanuki Plain and the Seto Inland Sea.

・Shashingatake Zenjo
This is the inner temple of Shusshakaji, located about 50 minutes’ walk up the mountain from the temple grounds. The place where Kobo Daishi threw himself off the rock is another 50 meters farther up the mountain. A Goma Fire Ritual is held here on the 15th day of the lunar calendar every month.
・Shashingatake Yohaijo
Even if you cannot climb up to the top of Shashingatake, if you recite the Gohogo sutra and pray here, you will receive the same amount of blessings.
The principal image of Shaka Nyorai carved by Kobo Daishi is in the Hondo, flanked by statues of Fudo Myoo (Immovable Wisdom King) and Kokuzo Bosatsu (Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Memory).

【Annual Events】
・Okunoin Ennichi (Inner Temple Day. Ancestral memorial service and Goma fire ritual are held. Free transportation from the temple grounds to the inner temple is available only on this day. After the ceremony, visitors can stay overnight in the hall. Lodging fee 1,000 yen: 15th day of the lunar calendar every month, prayer from 6:30 p.m. at a point the halfway up the mountain
・Setsubun Daihannya Tendoku Hoyo (Wisdom Sutra Chanting): February 3
・Eitai Kuyo Hoyo (Memorial Service): March 15th of the lunar calendar
・Kyuri Kaji (Cucumber Blessing Ritual): Doyo Ushi no Hi
Address 〒765-0061 香川県善通寺市吉原町1091番地
Telephone Number 0877-63-0073
DirectionsDriving directions: From the Zentsuji Interchange, take Route 329 toward Kotohira Town and turn right at the Nishihara Kita intersection. Go straight on Prefectural Route 48 (same access as Zentsuji). Go past Zentsuji Koyamaji Temple and turn left at the signal at a yakiniku Restaurant. Turn left past Mandaraji and go straight.
*Please note that there are no signs from Route 11.
ParkingAvailable 30 cars, 5 buses (parking lot has been widened)
free of charge