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Daikouzen-ji Temple: Immerse yourself in Japanese culture and nature

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By Elizabeth Sok

Sitting on the border of Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures, Daikouzen-ji Temple has a history reaching back over 1300 years. Take a trip to this temple to immerse yourself in a key Buddhist site and the natural bounty it has to offer.

History of Daikouzen-ji Temple

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A temple with a history tracing back to over 1,300 years. Photo: PIXTA/ むら智

Although Daikozen-ji Temple as we know it today was built in 847, its roots stretch back more than a century earlier when it was founded by a Buddhist monk named Gyoki. The temple and the surrounding complex stood until the 830s when many of the structures were destroyed by a fire. In 847, famed Buddhist monk Ennin rebuilt the temple and renamed it Daikouzenji in honor of the Chinese temple where he had recently been studying. Over subsequent centuries, the temple was caught in a cycle of destruction and rebirth as a result of warfare until its last restoration in the 17th century. Since then, the temple has remained largely intact.

The Highlights

Under the thatched roof of the central hall, you’ll find an 11-faced statue of Avalokitasvara, a Buddhist goddess of mercy, believed to have been carved by the temple’s original founder. As a hidden Buddha, this statue can only be seen once every 12 years with the next viewing taking place in 2026. Protecting Avalokitasvara are Tomenten and Hiromokuten, two 900-year-old statues standing about 150 cm tall. While their dyes have worn over the centuries, their appearances still radiate power and authority.

Seasonal Delights

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