Temple 25, Shinshōji

第25番札所 宝珠山 真言院 津照寺
【History of the temple】
Standing on top of a small mountain overlooking the port of Murotsu, Shinshōji is commonly known as Tsudera (Port Temple). Kobo Daishi, during his ascetic training in Shikoku, designated this temple as part of the pilgrimage because of the mountain's shape, which resembles a jewel held by Jizo Bosatsu (Earth Treasury Bodhisattva). Kobo Daishi carved a statue of Jizo Bosatsu as the principal image and named the temple Hōshuzan Shingonin Shinshōji.

At first, under the patronage of Chosokabe, Shinshōji was called Tsuderamura (Port Temple Village), and had an extensive area of land under its control. Later, when the Yamauchi family became the feudal lords, they donated more than 15,000 square meters of rice paddies, adding to the temple’s holdings and revenue. The temple was also changed to clan-run and prospered. However, due to the edicts issued in the Meiji Era, these lands were either confiscated by the government or given to local farmers, and the temple was abandoned.

After more than a decade of being left in ruins, the temple was finally allowed to reopen in 1883. Today, the temple area is extremely small with no trace of it’s former prosperity. However, some original buildings remain: the Hondo, the Jizodo, and a part of the Kuri (temple kitchen) that was called Goten (Palace), which is used as an elementary school. The current Daishido was built in 1963 and the Hondo in 1975.

【Origin of Kajitori Jizo】
The origin of the name Kadori Jizo (舵取りSteering Jizo) for the principal image of Enmei Jizo Bosatsu (Earth Treasury of Long Life) is as follows: In the autumn of 1602, Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a first-generation member of the Yamauchi family, was caught in a storm off the coast of Muroto. A priest appeared out of nowhere, took the helm of the ship, and brought it safely into the port of Murotsu. Relieved, Yamauchi looked around and discovered that the priest had disappeared. Yamauchi went to Tsudera to look for him and saw that the principal image of Jizo Bosatsu was soaking wet. The image of Jizo had been the priest on the ship. Since then, the principal image has been called the Kajitori Jizo. This spiritual experience is clearly written in a book called The Old History of the Southern Route.

According to the book Konjaku Monogatari (a collection of old stories), when the Hondo caught fire, the principal image, who had transformed himself into a monk to save the ship, warned the villagers to escape from the fire. This is the reason for the name Kajitori Jizo (火事取りFire Removing Jizo). In Japanse, kaji can mean either fire or steering depending on which kanji is used.

・Precincts of the temple
The Hondo is located on top of a small hill. The Daishido (the building dedicated to Kobo Daishi), the Nokyojo (the stamp office), and a hall for parishioners are to the right, just inside the gate, in front of the hill. The stone steps leading up to the Hondo seem to go straight up to the sky. The steps are quite steep, and worshipers use the handrail in the middle. Halfway up the stone steps is a bell tower and a Niomon Gate, which are reminiscent of the Ryugujo (Dragon Palace), the undersea palace of dragon gods in Japanese folklore. From the top of the stone steps in front of the Hondo, you can see the Pacific Ocean, the mouth of the Murotsu River, and Murotsuu Port below, plus Cape Gyodo and Temple 26 (Kongōchōji) to the right.
・Around the precincts
On the left side of the approach to the temple is Ogamaiwa (Pot Rock). Ichiki Shrine is to the left of the approach to the temple. They are both related to Ichiki Gonbei, who risked his life to repair the port of Murotsu.
Address 〒781-7102 高知県室戸市室津2652-イ
Telephone Number 0887-23-0025
Directions From the Nankoku Interchange, take National Route 32, then National Route 55 in the direction of Muroto. Turn right before the left curve at Kochi Shinkin Bank ATM in Ukitsu, Muroto City. Go about 100 meters, turn left before the town information board, and then drive about 400 meters along the road.
ParkingYou can park at the port across from the temple entrance. Cars are not allowed to enter the precincts.
free of charge