Temple 70, Motoyamaji

第70番札所 七宝山 持宝院 本山寺
【History of the temple】
The most distinctive feature of Motoyamaji is its five-storied pagoda. It is one of four five-storied pagodas at Shikoku Pilgrimage temples: this temple, Chikurinji, Shidoji, and Zentsuji. It was built in 950, but was severely damaged in modern times and rebuilt in 1910. Motoyamaji is the only temple on the Shikoku Pilgrimage where the principal image is Bato Kannon Bosatsu (Hayagriva). He has a horse’s head as his head, and a horse statue stands near the Hondo where the principle image is enshrined.

Kobo Daishi founded this temple in 807 as the 70th temple in the Shikoku Pilgrimage by order of Emperor Heijo. At that time, the temple was called Chofukuji. A legend tells that Kobo Daishi built the Hondo in one night. The vast, 20,000-square-meter grounds include the Hondo (National Treasure), Niomon gate, five-storied pagoda, Chinjudo, Daishido, Juodo, Akado (Dainichido), Ireido, the bell tower, and the Kyakuden, all of which are reminders of the temple's glory days as a large temple.

During the Tensho era (1592-1598), soldiers from Chosokabe's army attacked the head priest inside the Hondo and blood fell from the right hand of the statue of Amida Nyorai (Buddha of limitless light and life), a statue next to the main image. The temple avoided destruction because the warriors were surprised and ran away. This Amida Nyorai is called Tachiuke no Amida (Amida Nyorai receiving a sword). Since that time, the institutional name of the temple has been changed to Honzanji.

Designated a National Treasure. It is a one-storied building with a hipped roof and a tile roof in the style called honkawarabuki (a Japanese style of tile roof). The hondo was built in 1300 in the Nara style.
・Five-storied Pagoda
The five-storied pagoda was rebuilt in 1910 under the direction of head priest Yoritomi Jikki. It is the symbol of Motoyamaji and can be seen from far away.

・Niomon Gate: The gate has three styles; Wayo, Karayo, and Daibutsuyo. The Hakkyakumon Gate is designated as a National Important Cultural Property, and is unique for its sturdy structure.
・Chinjudo: A small shrine that retains the style of the late Muromachi period. It has a simple appearance with a cypress bark thatched roof. It is designated a Cultural Asset by the prefecture.

【Annual Events】
・Five-Storied Pagoda Special Tour: May consecutive holidays (May 3~6) and autumn consecutive holidays
・Kyuri Kaji (Cucumber Blessing Ritual): July Ox Festival
・Toro Nagashi (Water lantern): August 23rd from 7:00 p.m.
・Hidamari Ichi (Market): Last Sunday in September
・Goma Kitoe (Goma Fire Ritual): 28th of every month from 9:00 a.m.
Address 〒769-1506 香川県三豊市豊中町本山甲1445
Telephone Number 0875-62-2007
DirectionsFrom the Sanuki Toyonaka Interchange, take Route 11 toward Kannonji City. Turn right at Motoyamabashi Kitazume and go straight. You will see the five-storied pagoda of Motoyamaji. The parking lot is on the left.