Japan is composed of four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku which is the smallest one. Kamoda cape in Tokushima (the easternmost), Sada cape in Ehime (the westernmost), Ashizuri cape in Kochi (the southernmost), and the Takeikannon cape in Kagawa (the northernmost) are the four extreme points of Shikoku and each of them presents a different seascape.
Ajicho, located at Takamatsu city, is a famous stone quarry in Japan. Going along the prefectural road no. 36 from the Kotoden Yakuri station, both side of the road is full of stone factories piling up Aji stone a scenery with very few sightseeing atmosphere. However, Aji is the set of the Japanese movie “Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World” which attracts many fans to visit their movie location. In addition the Takeikannon cape, the northernmost place of Shikoku, also is located in Aji.
Besides its seascape, the Takeikannon temple is another spot that attracts people to come to Aji. In the past, Japanese who believed in Onmyodo (陰陽道) thought that the northeast place was a gate named Kimon (鬼門) from where monsters and ghosts could get into the world. As Takeikannon cape is the northeast place of Takamatsu castle, Ikoma Ikamasa, the lord of Sanuki Takamatsu, also built a temple while he constructed the Takamatsu castle. The temple named Takeikannon temple worshiped Bato Kannon who has the power to get rid of monsters and protect people.
Driving from Takamatsu along the prefectural road no. 36, you will see the big red signboard 竹居観音寺 (Takeikannon temple) indicating the entrance of the steep road on the left that continues for about 100 meters.
At the end of the road, there is a monument on which it is written 四国最北端 (the northernmost place of Shikoku). Maybe you will notice that the red signboard at the entrance was showing the name 観音崎 (Kannonsaki), while the monument is carved with 竹居岬(Takei cape). Both names are the secondary name of Takeikannon cape.
The area belongs to the grounds of Takeikanon temple. Going north by the trail built along the cliff you will reach the main hall located at the cape. Walking along the trail you can enjoy the panorama where many Setouchi islands float on the sea and boats sail slowly.
Takeikannon temple belongs to the Tendai branch (天台宗) which has combined Buddhism and Shintoism, so you also find many torii and shrine within the temple.
Besides many kinds of stone small shrines, there are the Seven Lucky Gods, who bring luck and fortune worshiping on the cliff. Rocks and pines stand beside the Seven Lucky Gods and creating a solemn atmosphere.
The cliff on the left side and the wide seascape on the right side as you walk down the path offer view with nice contrasts. You will feel safe as you go, but sometimes waves slapping against the rock may sound scary, as you suddenly imagine yourself falling into the deep sea if you are not careful enough.
Continue to walk to the end of the long narrow approach, a cave will appear with a mysterious entrance. Here is the main hall of Takeikannon temple.
Inside it, it is too dim to see the Buddhist statue clearly. The Shakujo (錫杖, Buddhist pewter staff) beside the cave and the Shimenawa (注連縄, straw rope uses to indicates a sacred place) contribute as well to the special and solemn atmosphere around the place.
It is said that here was a training hall of Yamabushi (山伏, Japanese ascetic). Before the approach was built, Yamabushi had to climb along the cliff to visit this place. In the hall, the deafening wave sound fill the cave, roaring scarily. The Yamabushi though it was a good training way to imagine the sound of many monsters that could only be defeated by powerful sacred chant.
In the past, the Aji peninsula was a famous training place for the Yamabushi including the Gokenzan (五剣山, the central mountain of Aji peninsula) and the mountains around. Moreover, Takeikannon temple is also the Okunoin (奥院, the inner temple) of Gokenzan Yakuri-ji temple (五剣山八栗寺) the holiest place of Aji peninsula.
It is one of the most recommended power-spot to visit. The solemnity and natural surrounding will definitely touch you more than any of our words. Besides, do not forget to go down to the white beach which is listed as one of the best five sceneries of Sanuki.
Access: One hour walk from Kotoden Rokumanji station (琴電六万寺). Or take the bus Aji line from Takamatsu station to Aji gyokyo mae (庵治漁協前) then walk about 25 minutes. Kotoden Aji line bus timetable:。
- Address: 〒761-0130 香川県高松市庵治町5340-1
- Business hours: 9:00～17:00
- Closed on: Open all year round.
- TEL: +81-87-871-4082（竹居観音寺）
- WEB: N/A
- Wi-Fi: N/A
- Language: Japanese
- Credit Card: N/A