Gokurakuji (極楽寺) is the second temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan. It stands out with its bright red wooden gates at the entrance. Once past the gates, you will see a beautiful garden with a well-maintained koi pond. There are 44 stone steps in this garden that leads worshipers to the main hall. Next to the main hall on the far right is a statue of the Buddhist monk Kukai (空海), whom the Shikoku Pilgrimage is based on. The statue is also called “Ansan Daishi”.
Gokurakuji is home to quite a few culturally and historically significant properties. One of them is the seated wooden statue of Amida Nyorai (a celestial buddha), made during the Heinan period of Japan. In the 9th century, the Buddhist monk Kukai had a vision of Amida Nyorai at the temple, and thus made it the principal image (honzon) of Gokurakuji. He then carved the buddha into a statue. An artificial mountain was also built in front of the main hall to block incoming light that was interfering with fishing activities. Unfortunately, the statue was burnt down along with the main hall by the fire of Chosokabe Motochika during the Tensho era (1573-92). The main hall and the statue were later rebuilt in the second year of Manji (1659).
Temple 3 – 金泉寺
Temple 1 – 霊山寺