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Gyoran-ji – Temple in Gyoran-zaka with Yakushi Nyorai and unusual image of Kannon

According to Japanese websites, Gyoran-ji Temple is considered a ‘power spot’ (パワースポット) , or a place where you can increase your spiritual energy and get some good luck. Power spot boom is past its peak, but people still come to Gyoran-ji in the middle of Gyoran-zaka slope (魚藍坂) to ask various things: traffic safety, prosperous business (offering some salt to Shio Jizo), pregnancy and easy delivery of a baby, success in job hunting, maritime safety, overseas travel safety, and to pray for achieving other goals. Here people also buy amulets and pray for unborn babies to Mizuko kuyō.

Gyoran-jiGyoran-jiKannon enshrined in this temple is called Gyoran Kanzeon Bosatsu (魚藍観世音菩薩), or simply Gyoran Kannon, Buddhist goddess of mercy. She is a maiden dressed in hanfu, Chinese Tang Dynasty dress. Gyoran-jiGyoran Kannon’s hair is tied in a Chinese style topknot and a bamboo basket with fish in her hands, and such image is a Fujian variation of Chinese Kannon, Guanyin (Fujian is a province in South East China). That’s why the area near Gyoran-ji is called Gyoran Zaka, which is translated as ‘fish basket slope’. You can often see fish images in the area.Gyoran-jiIn front of the temple you will see a seated statue of Medicine Buddha, Yakushi Nyorai.Gyoran-ji

He is holding a pot of medicine in his left hand and forms a ‘Fear not’ mudra in his right hand.Gyoran-ji

This is Hayagriva or, as Japanese people call him, Bato Kannon – the horse-headed Kannon with a fierce face, which also surprisingly expresses compassion.Gyoran-jiDespite the name, a horse’s head is usually just an ornament on the headwear.

At the entrance there are Roku Jizo, Six Jizo statues.Gyoran-jiGyoran-ji

Information

Address: Tokyo, Minato, Mita 4-8-34
Opening Hours:
Regular Holidays: Open daily
Telephone: 03-3451-5677
Access 1: 5 min. walk from Shirokane-Takanawa Station, Exit 2
Access 2: 7 min. walk from Sengakuji Station, Exit A3
Distance to airport: 20 km from Haneda Airport
Official website (only in Japanese):

Article by Olga Kaneda

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