Matsuo Kannonji Temple 松尾観音寺

The temple of Kannon protected by dragons

In Ise, the Matsuo Kannon-ji dedicated to the goddess of mercy Kannon is the subject of several beliefs and legends that are particularly popular in Mie Prefecture. The place is protected since its creation 1300 years ago by a pair of dragons living in the ponds located at the back of the temple.

A temple founded by the great monk Gyoki

It was during his visit to the sacred sites of Ise City in Mie Prefecture in 712 that the great Buddhist monk Gyoki (668-749) founded the Matsuo Kannon-ji to the north of the two shrines of Ise. Jingu. The man who built around fifty places of worship during his lifetime chose to establish this temple dedicated to the goddess Kannon in a place with a mystical reputation already well established in Ise: the two ponds of Matsuo.

Indeed, Gyoki knew that these two ponds each housed a dragon; a male for the eastern one and a female for the western one. It is also said that the monk himself sculpted the statue of Kannon venerated in the hondo at the water's edge. Matsuo Kannon-ji was for centuries the temple of the Kitabatake clan who ruled the southern province of Ise.

It is also the third stop on the 33 sacred sites pilgrimage from Kannon to Ise; a holy route first cited in a writing by the writer and lord Takashi Ono (802-853).

Gyoki Bosatsu, Saidaiji, Nara

Monk Gyoki

Wikimedia Commons

Address, timetable & access

  • Address

  • Phone

  • Timetable

    From Ujiyamada station, take the Sanko bus and get off at the Matsuo Kannonji Mae stop. The temple is about a five min walk from the bus stop.
  • Price

  • Access

    Open every day

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