Temple 18, Onzanji

第18番札所 母養山 宝樹院 恩山寺
【History of the temple】
Buillt on the outskirts of Komatsushima City, Onzanji is located in a Prefectural Designated Scenic Area, a pleasant forest of trees on a small mountain. According to legend, the temple was founded by Gyoki by order of Emperor Shomu (reigned 724-49) and named Dainichisan Fukushoin Mitsugonji. The principal image was a statue of Yakushi Nyorai (Medicine Buddha) carved by Gyoki. The temple is said to have been a place to save people from calamities and epidemics. Women were not allowed to enter the temple or the area from the Hanaorisaka hill leading toward Temple 19.

Around 814, when Kobo Daishi was practicing asceticism at this temple, his mother, Tamayori Gozen, came here from Zentsūji in Sanuki. However, women were not allowed at the temple. Kobo Daishi spent seven days in the waterfall near the temple gate and performed a secret ceremony for the liberation of women. After that, he was able to welcome his mother. His mother cut her own hair and dedicated it to the temple. To commemorate this event, Kobo Daishi changed the name of the temple to Boyōzan Onzanji. He carved a statue of himself and enshrined it in the temple, saying, "My wish is to rid the world of the troubles of less fortunate people.” The temple was destroyed by fire during the Tensho era (1603-1868), but during the Edo period (1603-1868), it flourished under the patronage of the Lords of Awa.

The present Hondo and Daishido are historical buildings constructed during the Bunka and Bunsei eras (1804-30). There is a small hall dedicated to Tamayori Gozen in the precincts of the temple. The Biranju Tree, which is said to have been planted by Kobo Daishi to commemorate the liberation of women, is also a Prefectural Natural Monument. It is a temple of the heart of Kobo Daishi, who devoted himself to his mother.

・Place where Tamayori Gozen shaved her hair
There is a small hall in front of the Daishido. Nearby there is a stone monument with the inscription, "Place where Tamayori Gozen shaved her hair." Inside the hall there is a statue of Kobo Daishi's mother carved by Kobo Daishi and also the hair that she cut off.
・Statue of Kobo Daishi
This statue was carved by Kobo Daishi himself. It is now the principal image in the Daishido.

・A stone monument with the inscription “Minamoto no Yoshitsune Landing Site" is located at the foot of a mountain in the precincts of the temple. There is a bronze statue of Yoshitsune drawing his bow at a nearby shrine.

【Annual Events】
・Gomakito (Goma Fire Ritual): 1st, 12th, 20th of every month
・Inner Temple Kanaiso Benzaiten Day: Tsuchi no Tomi no Hi -- It is said that if you visit the shrine on this day, you will be blessed with wealth and fortune.
Address 〒773-0008 徳島県小松島市田野町字恩山寺谷40
Telephone Number 0885-33-1218
DirectionsFrom JR Minami-Komatsushima, go west and turn left at the Higaino Town intersection, then go south on Route 55. Turn right at the sign for the temple and follow the directions.
Parking 20 cars, 5 microbuses, 4 buses (7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. )