Iō-ji Temple: Famed scenic spot in Tomonoura
Following narrow, sloping paths and climbing many steps, you will reach Iō-ji Temple, which is said to have been founded by Kōbō-Daishi during the Heian period (794–1185). The principal object of worship at this temple, a wooden statue of the Buddha Bhaiṣajyaguru, is designated as an Important Cultural Property of Hiroshima Prefecture. The statue is open to the public once every six years.
In 1826, the German physician Philipp Franz von Siebold, who was posted at Nagasaki by the Dutch East India Company, recalled a visit to Iō-ji Temple in his Account of a Journey to Edo, in which he noted that he climbed “a steep mountain of several hundred feet” to reach Iō-ji Temple on the edge of the town.
Iō-ji Temple has been known since long ago as a place to pray for strong, healthy legs. At the temple gate, there are two Kongōrikishi guardian statues as well as an offering of various sizes of traditional straw sandals called “waraji.”
While the view from Iō-ji Temple is beautiful, visitors can enjoy another unique view from the observation deck of a small shrine called Taishiden. Taishiden is located at the top of a long set of stone steps within the grounds of Iō-ji Temple. Only those who climb this mountain path can enjoy the breathtaking view found here.