Chogosonshiji Temple, the Tiger Temple

On the border between Nara and Osaka, on the mountainside of Mt. Shigi is Chogosonshiji Temple. Guarded by a giant paper good-luck tiger, a fukutora, this fairly remote temple attracts many people from all over the Kansai region. 

Chogosonshiji Temple

Getting to Chogosonshiji Temple

Chogosonshiji is located up Mt. Shigi. From Osaka, take the Kintetsu and change lines to a Nishi-shigi cable line to Shigisanguchi.Once you get off the cable car at Shigisanguchi, you have to take a bus to Chogosonshiji.

If you access from Nara, it would be nice and cheapestvto walk up the hill from Kintetsu Shigisan-shita Station. 

The cable car climbs up Mt. Takayasu, not Mt. Shigi
There used to be a cable car here, but now it is a trail

Just before the temple is Kaiun-bashi bridge. You can bungee jump from Kaiun Bridge. As far as I know, this is the only place people can bungee jump in the Kansai region. 

Kaiun Bridge was built in 1931
bungee jump!!

Temple Grounds 

According to the temple legend, 1,400 years ago Prince Shotoku stopped on the then empty site to pray for victory during his war with Mononobe no Moriya. At the time, Buddhism had yet taken root in Japan and the war between these two individuals served as the deciding factor as to whether or not Buddhism would flourish in the country.

As the prince prayed, Bishamonten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods and one of the guardians of Buddhism, appeared to him and told the prince the secret to winning the war.  As a token of gratitude, Prince Shotoku carved a statue of Bishamonten and ordered construction of a temple to enshrine it on Mt.Shigi.

Prince Shotoku at Chogosonshiji

Upon entering the temple grounds, you will see a big tiger statue. Legend has it that when Bishamonten appeared to Prince Shotoku, it was the tiger hour of the tiger day in the tiger month during the tiger year. For this reason, tigers are the guardians of the temple. It is even known to some as the “tiger temple”.

He is 6m long!! The head in mechanized and moves on the weekends.
Baby tigers!
The gate of the temple is huge!

Chogosonshiji has some pretty expansive temple grounds! It takes more than 10 minutes just to get from the gate to the hondo.

There are many little temples and cute tiger statues throughout the grounds— getting to the hondo is like going through a maze!

Long path leading to Hondo.
Are you brave enough to go into his mouth?
gold and silver tigers!
He has a million dollar in his mouth!

What is unique about Chogosonshiji is that there are a number of little temples throughout the temple grounds such as Senjyu-in and Gyokuzo-in. 

Though some of these temples serve as temple hostels, they still contain religious icons.

15m huge jizo!
Guess we lost!


The hondo enshrines three statues: Bishamonten , his wife Kisshoten and their child, Zennishidoji. Bishamonten is one of four heavenly kings, commonly known as Tamonten.Unfortunately, they are usually not open to public and instead they put the replica in front. 

it is huge!!
It is located quite up in the mountain.
Nara basin ahead

Make sure to visit the temple’s museum! The museum has a hand scroll called the Shigisan Engi Emaki  which contains stories and legends about the origins of Chogosonshiji.

The scroll dates back to the 12th century and one of the most famous hand scrolls in the entire country and is the first example of manga. Though it originally exhibits a replica of the hand scroll, it is still worth seeing!!

To Okunoin

If you’d like a little bit of a hike, you can visit Karahachi-do, which is 20 minutes away from the hondo.  Just make sure to bring the water from the water fountain near the hondo  because it is customary to do so!

 It is customary to bring water to Karahachi-do



2280-1 Shigisan, Heguri, Ikoma District, Nara Prefecture





Getting To

From Osaka, take the Kintetsu Osaka Line from Namba or Uehonmachi Station and change lines at Kawachi Yamamoto Station to the Kintetsu Shigi Line. Then take to a Nishi-shigi cable line to Shigisanguchi. Once you get off the cable car at Shigisanguchi, you have to take a bus to Chogosonshiji.

If you access from Nara, it would be convenient to take a bus from Oji Station of JR Nara and Yamatoji Line. 











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