Iwamoto-ji Temple is located in the South-western area of Kochi prefecture just a few hundred meters from the Shimanto River and is one of the 88 temples on the Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage. Every year, pilgrims and adventurous travelers alike, embark on this 1200 kilometer life-changing spiritual trek across Shikoku and in recent years the number of international tourists taking up the challenge has increased. Despite this temple being very traditional, its head priest decided it needed to be a little more accommodating to international visitors and refurbished parts of the temple accommodation and added English signage everywhere. In addition, a collaboration with a pop artist has resulted in a wonderful additional splash of color, making it one of the most visited places in Kochi.

Iwamoto-ji is no ordinary temple! As soon as you enter the grounds you’ll notice pop illustrations decorating the grounds and colorfully designed artwork embracing the whole area creating a bright unusual world. There are so many different subjects to see in Iwamoto-ji, but you can’t miss the unique ceiling with its 575 paintings. The paintings vary from traditional images of nature and Buddha to unusual paintings of Marilyn Monroe, sailboats and cats. When the main hall was refurbished in 1978, the paintings were donated from all over Japan. As you gaze up at the ceiling, there’s a sense of traditional and modern worlds colliding to create a truly unique and serene temple atmosphere that integrates modern-art.

During your temple stay at Iwamoto-ji, you can take part in a number of traditional experiences including making Miso and Wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). There are also some Buddhist ritual experiences such as the fire ceremony, writing sutras, zen meditation and yoga!

Talk to our consultants about making Iwamoto temple part of your Japan Holiday!