Chief priest of Jison-in Temple, special head temple of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism
I am the chief priest of Jison-in Temple, a World Heritage. I was born on the westernmost edge of Toyama city, where you can worship the sun as it rises from the peaks of Tateyama in the east. I graduated from Koyasan University. I became the son-in-law of the former chief priest of the temple, who was also from Toyama. I am a member of Kudoyama Town Cultural Asset Preservation Council.
Construction is limited at the temple because its grounds are part of a World Heritage core zone. One of the three times the cypress bark shingles on the roof of the Mirokudo, an Important Cultural Property, were replaced in the 21st year of my tenor, the project lasted several years because no piles could be driven to support a temporary roof. The project included completely dismantling and repairing the temple’s two-story tahoto-style pagoda, a prefecture-designated Cultural Property, and repairing the tile roof of the Daishido. During the project, a typhoon struck the area. From earthquakes to theft, there is no shortage of causes for concern, but my mission is to safeguard the temple’s cultural properties.
I’m the chief priest of the temple that lies at the beginning of the Choishimichi Road, the pilgrimage route to Koyasan.
When the route became a World Heritage, I once again climbed the road, which stretches for 24 kilometers. On the road there are a series of 2-meter-high stupas known as Cho-ishi Stone. These stones are engraved with the name of the Buddha and a number marking the distance traveled. They let you count down the distance to Koyasan and in doing so afford peace of mind to people climbing the road.
The route starts with a gradual climb before steepening after 1.3 kilometers. Then it flattens out, and you pass under the Dai-mon Gate and arrive at the last steep section, which is known as Munatsuki-haccho. Then it’s a downhill the rest of the way. I believe that by walking this road, you can experience mercy in the surrounding nature.
During fall, red and yellow persimmons, ginkgo trees, and maple trees form vistas on your left and right, while a pilgrimage route of ancient cypress and Japanese cedar awaits you on top of the mountain. There are also tombs, said to number in the hundreds of thousands and to include the resting places of famous daimyo feudal lords. I feel like it has crystallized Japanese history. The route is so appealing that some people have climbed it more than 108 times.