Nankobo is temple No. 55 with a magnificent gate facing the main road, with four fierce guardians decorated with gold leaf. The daishido is large and impressive. It’s the only temple of the 88 to be called “bo” instead of the typical “ji”. “Bo” means “small Buddhist temple”, which is ironic because Nankobo is one of the biggest of the 88. It stands in what is in effect a religious agglomeration, a complex of sandy plazas dotted with temple and shrine buildings that stretches for three city blocks. Although it isn’t immediately obvious, the main hall of Nankobo is made of concrete. The original building was destroyed in the bombing of Imabari during WWII. The wooden gate at the entrance to the temple is of recent construction too, although its style is old. The temple guardians housed in the gate, front and back, are magnificently ferocious and expressive with their wooden and gilt highlights.
- ©John Lander
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