Kichijoji is Temple No. 63 on the pilgrimage standsing between busy Route 11 and the JR railway line, with a number of tall trees growing in its precincts, which give it a luxuriously leafy atmosphere. Every temple has a votive image representing something of Buddhist significance, and Kichijo-ji is unique in having a Bishamon statue. Bishamon is one of the Seven Lucky Gods revered in Japan. They originated in India and China from various Hindu and Taoist backgrounds. Bishamon’s wife is Kichijo, and the temple takes its name from her. Bishamon is a warrior who serves as guardian of the places where Buddha preaches. There's a little eight-sided building with a Chinese look which holds statues of the six lucky gods other than Bishamon. In the grounds of the temple, you’ll see a stone with a hole in it - it’s said that if you put your kongozue or pilgrim’s staff into it, your prayers will be granted.
- ©John Lander
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