Tatsueji Temple Gate- Tatsue-ji is the first "Sekisho" temple, there being one in each of the four prefectures of Shikoku. Sekisho were the "barriers" or control points on highways in Japan from ancient times up until the late 19th century. Government officials would check the papers and passes of people traveling to make sure they had permission. Sekisho temples are a kind of spiritual checkpoint with the idea being that if you do not have the correct spiritual and mental attitude for the pilgrimage you should go back to the beginning and start again. There are even stories of people feeling unable to enter the grounds. The legend here is that of a woman named Okyo who worked as a geisha, killed her husband and ran away with lover. They attempted a double suicide, but they decided to do become pilgrims instead. When got to this temple, her black hair twined around the bell, roped around her black hair and her head skin fell off.
- ©John Lander
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