Former Number 26Jigen-ji temple
History of the temple
Kyūkokuzan Kannon-ji, main statue Jūichimen Kannon, temple number 26 of Ise Pilgrimage.
Wind from the peak that shakes the cedars, the sound of the river flowing in the valley, all of this will bring new life for sure.
The predecessor to Jigen-ji was a temple called Kannon-ji, which stood in the northwest from a village of Sugitani valley. It was a famous temple belonging to Tendai sect of Buddhism. But after it was burned by the troops of Oda Nobunaga (later regarded as the first “Great Unifier” of Japan) in the second half of 16th Century, the temple has moved to the village’s precinct.
In the 19th Century, Meiji government’s law of the separation of Buddhism and Shintoism (shinbutsu bunri) and the Grand Council of State’s proclamation of abolition of Buddhism led to anti-Buddhist movement in Japan. As a result temples that stood in Sugitani village: Kannon-ji, Injō-ji and Endō-ji were merged into one temple called Kannon-ji. Kannon-dō hexagonal hall which stands on the mountain was also included as Kannon-ji’s inner sanctuary. Some time later, the Grand Council of State ordered the closing of the temples which did not have an abbot or there were no official supporters. Kannon-ji lacked both of them and as a result it had to be closed. The main statue was moved to Shōgen-ji in Kuwana.
Kannon-ji was a temple with a long history and big community of worshipers. They were saddened to lose it and decided to raise funds for the reconstruction of their temple. Next they found a temple in Uji Yamada called Jigen-ji. It was allowed to operate, but was about to be closed soon. Thanks to the efforts of people from Sugitani village, Jigen-ji agreed to pass the name to Kannon-ji and by doing so giving a chance for it to be reconstructed. An official allowance from the prefectural government was issued in December 1887 and Kannon-ji was reborn as Jigen-ji.
The condition of the 250 years old Main Hall of Kannon-ji was very poor and it had to be rebuilt. In September 2000 construction works have finished and a ceremony to commemorate the completion of the new Hall was held. The main statues of Jigen-ji: Buddha Amida (Buddha of Infinite Light) and Jūichimen Kannon (Eleven-Faced Kannon) are both main statues of the old Kannon-ji and they were both made in the beginning of 13th Century. The plate which hangs at the Main Hall and has the temple’s name written on it is also an old plate used for centuries in Kannon-ji temple.