Yashimaji Temple on the summit of the Yashima plateau near Takamatsu was founded in the 8th century by the Chinese monk, Ganjin.
Yashima-ji Temple 屋島寺
Main Gate, Yashima-ji Temple, Yashima, Shikoku
Main Hall, Yashima-ji Temple, Yashima, Shikoku
Yashima-ji is believed to have been founded by the Chinese monk, Ganjin in 754 during the Nara Period of Japanese history. Later the temple was converted to Shingon Buddhism by Kobo Daishi in 815 and moved to its present location on the south side of the Yashima plateau. Kobo Daishi is also believed to have carved a Thousand Armed Kannon (Avalokiteshvara) to be the main image of the temple.
Yashima-ji Temple is also associated with the Battle of Yashima which was fought between the Minamoto and Taira clans in 1185. The Taira were defeated in the naval battle and, finally and conclusively, again at Dan-no-ura, a month later, off the coast of Shimonoseki.
The Main Hall of Yashima-ji still stands after its construction during the Kamakura era at the beginning of the 14th century and is classified as an Important Cultural Property. The bell in the bell tower is also from the Kamakura Period.
The temple grounds also contain large, stone images of Minoyama Daimyojin, a rascally tanuki (raccoon dog) that is able to change shape and assume other forms.
There are legends of the tanuki meeting Kobo Daishi in the shape of an old man and of taking part in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Now the portly, large-testicled Minoyama Daimyojin is a demi-god who bestows good fortune on married couples and mizushobai enterprises - night-time entertainment businesses.
Treasure House, Yashima-ji Temple, Shikoku
Stone Tanuki, Yashima-ji Temple, Shikoku
Yashima-ji Temple is close to the rather decrepit New Yashima Aquarium (Shin-Yashima Suizokan), which may be redeveloped in the near future.
There are also great views over the Inland Sea and back to Takamatsu from the northern side of the plateau where there is also the reconstructed remains of an early Asuka and Nara Period fortress. This early stone fortification (Yashimanoki; 屋島の城) is connected with the Yamato state's conflict in Korea in the 7th century when it allied with the Kingdom of Baekje in a war against the combined armies of Silla and the Tang Dynasty of ancient China. Japan and its Baekje allies suffered a great defeat at the Battle of Hakusukinoe (白村江の戦い) and was not to send armies into Korea again until the late 16th century under Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
At the bottom of the Yashima plateau is Yashima Shrine and the interesting Shikoku Mura with a collection of over 300 buildings brought from all over Shikoku and surrounding islands.
Shuttle Bus, Yashima-ji Temple, Yashima, Shikoku
Yashima-ji Temple Access
Yashima-ji Temple1808 Yashimahigashi-machi, Takamatsu City, Kagawa
Tel: 087 841-9418
Hours: 9 am-5 pm
Admission: Free admission to the temple grounds; 500 yen for the Treasure House
Yashima-ji Temple is a shuttle short bus ride up the mountain from Kotoden Yashima Station on the Shido Line from Kawaramachi Station (two stops from Takamatsu-Chikko Station close to Takamatsu JR Station). There are three trains an hour from Kawaramachi Station to Kotoden Yashima Station.
Alternatively there are less frequent trains from JR Takamatsu Station to JR Yashima Station, from where the Kotoden shuttle bus begins its journey. The fare is 100 yen presently and on weekdays buses leave JR Yashima Station at 8.37 am, 9.37 am, 10.37 am, 11.17 am, 12.17 pm, 12.37 pm, 1.17 pm, 1.37 pm, 2.17 pm, 2.37 pm, 3.37 pm and 4.37 pm. The bus arrives at Kotoden Yashima Station about 8 minutes later and takes about 18 minutes to reach the top of the Yashima plateau. The last bus down on weekdays is at 5.25 pm. From December through February the first bus that departs at 8.37 am does not run though it does run January 1-3.
On weekends and public holidays buses start at 11.17 am from JR Yashima Station with the last bus up at 2.17 pm. The last bus down on weekends and public holidays is at 2.45 pm.
Yashima-ji Temple, Yashima, Shikoku