Hozan-ji Temple (宝山寺)

Hozan-ji Temple is the Grand Head Temple of Shingon Risshu sect in Monzen-cho, Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture. It is also called Ikoma-Shoten. Its sango (prefix of a Buddhist temple) is Ikoma-san. It was founded by Tankai Risshi (Buddhist priest in the late 17th century) in 1678.

Its principal image is Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings). It enshrines Kangiten (Nandikesvara, Ganesh in the Buddhist pantheon, a.k.a. Shoten) as the guardian god in the Shoten-do Hall.
It is the 15th temple out of the 18 Historical Temples with Pagodas (Butto-koji Holy Places)

History

According to the tradition, Mt. Ikoma is a Buddhist seminary for the mountain asceticism founded by EN no Ozunu (A semi-legendary holy man noted for his practice of mountain asceticism during the second half of the 7 century) in 655, and it is said that Kukai (Kobo Daishi [a posthumous title of the priest Kukai]) also practiced here. It is said that its name was Toshidasan Daishomudo-ji Temple at that time.

In 1678 during the Edo period, Tankai Risshi restored the temple and enshrined Kangiten (Ganesh). It seems this was the virtual foundation of this temple.

In the Edo period, Hozan-ji Temple was believed in by the common people in Osaka as a god of commerce. The Imperial family in Kyoto, the Tokugawa Shogun family in Edo, and the lord of the Koriyama Domain Yanagisawa family also made prayers here, and it is renowned as a sacred ground to Shoten worship. It was so popular that in 1918, Ikoma Kosaku Tetsudo (Ikoma Funicular Railway: present Ikoma Cable Line), the first cable car in Japan was constructed. It enshrines Kangiten, and it is reported that 3 million worshippers visit the temple annually. In Mt. Ikoma, a secret mountain where Hozan-ji Temple is located, there are many sharmanic religious sites (Korean Temples) for Korean-Japanese other than Hozan-ji Temple.

Buildings

Hondo (main hall)

Shotendo (hall dedicated to Shoten (Ganesha)

Tahodo (a "multi-treasure" hall)

Shishi Kaku (Important Cultural Property)

Important Cultural Properties

Shishi Kaku - A western-style building constructed in 1884.

Five wooden statues of Godai Myo-O (Five Wisdom Kings) - Created by Tankai in 1701.

Colored painting on silk: Kasuga Mandala

Colored painting on silk: Aizen Myoo (Ragaraja)

Colored painting on silk: Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva)

Noh books (by Zeami), five volumes

Cultural Properties designated by Nara Prefecture

Ink painting on paper: ten volumes

Commentary about Nogaku by Kanze Zeami, eight books

Commentary about Nogaku by Konparu Zenchiku, five books

Komparu Family documents associated with military art, 13 volumes

Others

Wooden seated statue of Tankai Risshi - Portraiture sculpture of Tankai Risshi, the restoration patriarch of Hozan-ji Temple

Access

Hozan-ji Station and Umeyashiki Station on Kintetsu Ikoma Kosaku Line (Nara Prefecture), (access from Umeyashiki Station is shorter and easier because it is downhill to the main hall.)

Shigi-Ikoma Skyline

Hozan-ji Temple and initiation of Kinki Nippon Railway Company (Kintetsu)

Osaka Electric Tramway (Daiki), a direct parent company of present Kinki Nippon Railway Company (Kintetsu) opened its first line (present Kintetsu Nara Line) between Uehonmachi Station (Present Osaka Uehonmachi Station) and Nara Station (Present Kintetsu Nara Station) in April 30, 1914, and Ikoma Station was set up on the foot of Mt. Ikoma. It is said that since then, visitors of Hozan-ji Temple significantly increased. However, in addition to the huge cost burden of boring the Ikoma Tunnel under Mt. Ikoma, when the rainy season began, the service was reduced due to insufficient operating revenue because of a decline of tourists as well as a small population along the line, and people made fun of the railway company, calling it 'Osaka Tenki Kido' (Osaka Weather Tramway) instead of 'Osaka Denki Kido' (Osaka Electric Tramway).

Shortly after its inauguration, in late June of the same year, it was so financially pressed that it was unable to pay even the printing cost of tickets for the next day, let alone salaries of employees.
A story as follows is handed down:
One of the directors of the company, Mataichiro KANAMORI (later, representative director and president of the company) visited Hozan-ji Temple late at night and asked to lend him the money offered to the temple in exchange for 100,000 tickets.
As a result, the kannushi (Shinto priest) at that time replied, 'It was Hozan-ji Temple that made a petition to build a station in Ikoma when Daiki started the business, and since then your company has suffered from a burden of Ikoma Tunnel construction.'
Therefore, our temple is also responsible for Daiki's hardship. We are willing to help you at any cost,' and kindly came up with the money for him.'
The priest said, 'We are willing to help you at any cost,' and kindly came up with the money for him.'
It is said that the pay envelopes that Daiki employees received at that time were really heavy because the offertory coins were used for their salaries.

The due bill written by Kanamori is said to have been still remains in Hozan-ji Temple. In addition, it is said that one of the reasons why the first cable car in Japan in Ikoma was introduced was because Daiki showed its gratitude to the above favor that the temple rendered.