Temple 2, Gokurakuji

第2番札所 日照山 無量寿院 極楽寺
History of the Temple

Gokurakuji is said to have been built by Gyoki. In 815 Kobo Daishi chanted the Amida Sutra and performed Buddhist rituals here for 37 days. On the final day, Amida Nyorai (Buddha of Limitless Light and Life) appeared. Based on this memory, Kobo Daishi sculpted the statue of Amida Nyorai that is now the principal image of the temple. The statue is said to be extremely beautiful, and emitted a light visible as far away as the town of Naruto.

The temple was called Nisshozan (Sun Light Mountain) because of a legend that fishermen, annoyed by the excessive amount of light shining from the statue of Amida Nyorai, built a hill in front of the Daishido to block the light because it was interfering with their fishing. During the Tensho Period (1573-92), the entire temple was burned down by Chosokabe Motochika, but the Daishido was rebuilt by Hachisuka Mitsutaka in 1659.

The temple grounds are a quiet place surrounded by hills on three sides. Passing through the vermilion-lacquered Niomon, the temple gate, visitors are welcomed by a garden reminiscent of the Buddhist Pure Land. Beyond the garden, a staircase leads to the Hondo. The Daishido is to the right of the Hondo. The statue of Kobo Daishi in the Daishido is also known as the Kobo Daishi of Safe Delivery. It is said that the statue has power to grant easy childbirth. The Chomei Sugi (Long-lived Cedar) on the temple grounds was planted by Kobo Daishi. Over 1,200 years old, it is 31 meters tall, 6 meters in circumference, and is designated as a Natural Monument by Naruto City. It is said that touching the tree will not only bring safety to the family, but also cure illnesses and grant longevity. This sacred tree has withstood wind and snow for over a thousand years.


Buddha Footprints
Footprints carved into a stone at the top of the stairs, next to the Hondo, are said to be the Buddha's footprints, left on the stone after the Buddha gave a sermon while standing on the stone.

Gankake Jizo
It is said that if you chant the mantra of Jizo in front of this statue of the Boddhisatva Jizo (Earth Treasury Bodhisattva) and make diligent efforts, you will receive magical blessings. It is located near the temple gate.

Temple Treasures
The statue of Amida Nyorai, the principal image of the temple, is a hidden treasure. It is not visible to the public.

Annual Events
Hana Matsuri (Buddha's Birthday): April 8, in front of the Buddha footprints.
Mizuko Hokai (Memorial service for babies): September 23rd, 10:00 a.m., in front of the statue of Mizuko Jizo.
Joya no Kane (New Year's Eve bell-ringing): December 31, 11:50 p.m., at the Bell Tower.
Address 〒779-0225 徳島県鳴門市大麻町檜字段の上12
Telephone Number 088-689-1112
DirectionsFrom the Aizumi Interchange, take Prefectural Route 1 toward Itano Town, then Prefectural Route 12 toward Naruto City.
Parking40 cars, 6 buses
free of charge
Website Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage
RemarksLodging: Available (150 people)