A temple dedicated to the god of Itsukishima
Until the Meiji Era, Daigan-ji Temple existed as a construction bureau of sorts to provide construction and repair to the buildings of Itsukishima Shrine which included the 5-story pagoda, the 2-story pagoda and Senjokaku. Long ago, shrine visitors who arrived on the island near Daigan-ji cleansed themselves in the bath and changed clothing before making their way to Itsukishima Shrine. Following the decree to separate Buddhism and Shinto in the Meiji Era, Daigan-ji was reduced to just the Sanmon gate and the main hall, but within is enshrined the Benzaiten of Itsukishima. The enshrinement of this goddess is so famous that it has been counted alongside the two Benzaiten in Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture and Chikubu Island in Shiga Prefecture as one of Japan’s 3 Great Benzaiten.
Itsukishima Benzaiten, beloved as the goddess to provide good fortune for Buddhist worshippers
The Itsukishima Benzaiten has frequently been worshipped in private in the form of an image decorating the home or as jewelry, and worshippers visit the shrine to gain good fortune as benefits provided from believing in their faith. However, as a rarely seen Buddha, it is only displayed once a year on June 17th. In tandem with this public display of the Benzaiten, the Itsukishima Benzaiten Festival is held with a variety of events taking place. If you have the time, you will want to see the golden Buddha statues with their placid expressions.
The additional highlights of Important Cultural Properties such as the Buddha statues and the Rubbing Buddha
In the main hall, there are 4 Buddha statues that have collectively been nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property among which the seated statue of Yakushi Nyorai is said to have been made by the monk Kobo Daishi. Also, in front of the main hall, there is a Rubbing Buddha, known as Binzuru Sonja. It is said that if you rub the part of the Rubbing Buddha’s body that is ailing you and then rub that same part on your own body, that area will get better. As well, there is a 1/25 model of the Kintaikyo Bridge which was exhibited at the Paris Exposition and an unusual 9-trunk pine tree whose planting has been attributed to the first Prime Minister of Japan, Hirobumi Ito along with other highlights.