Obitoke-dera Temple (帯解寺)
Obitoke-dera Temple, located in Imaichi-cho, Nara City, is a temple of the Kegon sect. Its principal image is a guardian deity mainly for children, Jizo Bosatsu. It is known as a temple where people visit to pray for safe delivery, and its sango (prefix of a Buddhist temple is Koyasu-san that exactly means 'mountain of safe delivery'. Located in the southern suburb of Nara City, it is near from Obitoke Station, JR Sakurai Line.
Its temple legend says that it was originally called Reisho-zan, and one of the Iwabuchi senbo (one thousand temple lodgings located in precipitous terrain) founded by Gonso Daitoku, a mentor of Kukai. Around the middle of the 9th century, in 858 in concrete, Imperial Prince Korehito (later Emperor Seiwa) was born after the empress of Emperor Montoku, Some-dono, offered a fervent prayer to this temple, wishing to have a child. Following this event, a Buddhist complex was constructed by the wish of Emperor Montoku and it began using the name Obitoke-dera Temple at his imperial order. Since then, the temple has been attracting people who whishes safe delivery.
In and after the 20th century, Empress Michiko, Princess Masako, the wife of Imperial Prince Naruhito, and other imperial family members, such as Prince Mikasa and his family, Princess Takamado and her family, and Prince Akishino and his family, visited this temple to pray for safe delivery.
Wooden statue of Jizo Bosatsu in the hanka (half-lotus) position (Obitoki Koyasu Jizo Bosatsu) (important cultural property) - the temple's principal image
It was created in Kamakura period.
On July 23 and 24, a great Buddhist memorial service "Jizo-e shiki Daihoe" (Jizo Festival) is held to worship Jizo Bosatsu (the guardian deity for children), and the temple comes alive with many stalls set up in front of the gate.