Sefukuji Temple, the Saigoku Pilgrimage’s Most Remote Temple

Centuries ago, many of the temples of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage were very challenging to access. Often located deep within forests or high on mountains, the remoteness of these temples is part of why they were so sacred. The construction of railroads and other modern forms of transportation make getting to most Saigoku temples easy to reach. That being said, there are still few that still hard to access. One such temple is Sefukuji Temple, the fourth temple of Saigoku 33.

Temple Trail

Sefukuji Temple is hard to get to. After riding the orange bus to Makiosan, it is another kilometer up the trail to the temple.

After getting off the orange bus, you will be right in front of the trail to the temple. While some of the temples of Saigoku Kannon are located on the top of the mountain, many of them are accessible by car. However, to get to Sefuku-ji, there is no choice but to walk up the mountain trail for 45 minutes, which is why this temple is known as the toughest temple in Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. 

You probably don’t need any gear other than a decent pair of shoes, but you will need plenty of drinks, especially because there are no vending machines near the mountain or on the temple grounds.

orange bus
Trail head for Sefukuji Temple

Despite Sefukuji’s reputation as being one of the hardest-to-access temples of the Saigoku Pilgrimage, we didn’t think it was that hard. Besides, there were a decent number of people walking up to the temple.  Still, the incline up the trail is a bit steep at first, so it will get your heart rate up a little. 

It is quite surprising there is such as huge gate in the mountain
Going up and up

Temple Grounds

After walking 30 minutes or so, we arrived at Sefuku-ji. It stands near the top of Mt. Makio (600m), from which you can enjoy a great view of many mountains including Mt, Kongo and Mt. Iwawaki.  

Sefukuji Temple is quite an old temple, even for a temple part of the Saigoku Pilgrimage. The temple’s origins seem to date back to when Buddhism was just introduced to Japan, around 6th century. According to the temple legend, monk Gyoman built the temple in hopes of curing the emperor’s illnessGradually, the temple prospered and it is said that many thousand monks practiced at Sefukuji Temple. Some of those monks includes the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kukai.

MIhatsudo in Sefukuji enshrines Kukai’s hair

Actually, Sefukuji Temple is the starting point of the Diamond Trail to Mt. Kongo and Mt. Nijo. It is the long trail walking the mountain chain surrounding Osaka prefecture. 

10 hours to Mt. Kongo and 20 hours to the starting point.
View from Sefukuji Temple. Below is Takihata Dam.

Upon entering the temple grounds, you will see Hondo. Sefukuji is a much smaller temple than many of the other Saigoku temples we’ve been to, but even still the temple had plenty of visitors.  The Buddha statues at Sefukuji are open to the public, but you have to pay an additional 500 yen to go inside the hondo and look at them.

These statues include the main Buddha statue of Sefuku-ji, Miroku Bosatsu (center), and the main statue for Kannon Pilgrimage, Kannnon Bosatsu (left). 

Hondo of Sefukuji

Although Miroku Bosatsu is the main Buddha of Sefukuji, the reason Sefukuji Temple is part of the Saigoku Pilgrimage is because of Senju Kannon’s visit to the temple.

According to legend, around the 8th century in Sefukuji, a monk came to study for a time at Sefukuji. When the monk was ready to leave, he asked the other monks to give him some money for his journey back. However, they refused, and the monk got angry and left. Dissatisfied with the other monks’ refusal, a famous monk, Hokai, chased after him. Just as he was catching up, to Hokai’s surprise, he saw the traveling monk walking along the surface of the sea.

Hokai realized that monk was an incarnation of Senju Kannon! When he returned to Sefukuji, he carved a statue of Senju Kannon to honor her visit.

When we visited, sakura was relly pretty

Info: Sefukuji Temple


136 MakiosanchoIzumi, Osaka Prefecture





Getting To

Take a Nankai bus bound for Makiosan-guchi [槇尾山口] from Izumiotsu or Izumichuo. Get off at the Makio Chugakko-mae [槇尾中学校前]. Take Orange bus to the last stop, Makiosan [槇尾山].

Once you reach Makiosan, it is another kilometer up the trail to the temple.


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