On this trip, in April 2017, I was only able to visit five of the 33 temples which form the the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage (西国三十三所, Saigoku Sanjūsan-sho). This is the oldest pilgrimage trail of Japan, 1300 years old. I have set the intention to return to the Kansai area to continue on this pilgrimage.
This temple is #13 of the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage and built around 747 CE. It is located in Otsu, Shiga. Lucky for us and others who do not have enough time to complete the full pilgrimage in one trip, there is a mini-Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage with a forest walk containing thirty-three small Kannon statues, one representing each of the temples that are part of the pilgrimage. The photo here is of a Kannon statue representing #33 (I can neither remember nor see which one I posed with).
The temple is #8 of the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage and is located in Sakura, Nara Prefecture. It was first built in 686 CE and features a statue of the eleven-faced Kannon, which is 9.3 metres tall. I paid an extra fee to go into the hall and touch the feet of the statue.
The temple is #2 of the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage and is located in Wakayama, Wakayama. It was founded in 770 CE by Iko, a holy priest from China. This temple enjoyed must prestige and was visited by numerous emperors. One must climb 231 steps to reach the main temple area.
The temple is #3 of the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage and is located in Kinokawa, Wakayama. It was founded in the temple was founded in 770 CE by Otomo no Kujiko, a hunter.
The temple is #23 of the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage and located in Minoh, Osaka. It was built in 765 CE by Prince Kaijō, with the help of the priests, Zenchu and Zensan. I hiked up there via the waterfall in Minoh, and it was quite tough but well worth it – it ended up being my favourite temple on this visit.