Temple 34 Tanemaji - The name Tanemaji means "seed sowing temple" which comes from the temple's founding legend that Kobo Daishi visited here on his return from China in the ninth century and planted seeds he had brought back with him: rice, wheat, two types of millet and beans. Known collectively as the Five Grains they have numerous cultural and religious associations. As well as the thousands of pilgrims who visit the temple, Tanemaji also attracts many pregnant women because of the statue of Kosodate Kannon - a child-rearing Kannon, and so these women buy a wooden water dipper and have it blessed by the priest. If their child is born safely then the bottom of the dipper is punched out and hung around the statue.
- ©John Lander
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