Kiyoshikojin Seichoji Temple, known as the “God of Kamado” in Takarazuka City, is commonly called “Kojin-san.” For this article, I visited Kojin-san in autumn!
The road to Kojin-san starts from Hankyu Kiyoshikojin Station. The 30-minute walk long the roughly 1.2km gentle slope is lined with more than 100 shops. On this fun walk amid abundant greenery are to be found not only cafes, restaurants, plant stores, and interior shops but also those offering souvenirs and goods related to Buddhist and Shinto rites.
At Kitagawa Butcher Shop located at the entrance to the Kiyoshikojin Market just outside the station, people were lining up, waiting for Takarazuka Croquette to open. The nostalgic retro style market is not only a convenient place to go shopping, but also a nice spot to pass the time at a cafe or restaurant.
Passing through the market and out onto the road, I was met with a banner of a rising dragon. This road to the temple is considered to have a shape similar to a dragon ascending to the heavens, and is thus considered a path of very good fortune.
Strolling further upward, browsing the stores on either side, I came upon the Arima Kaido Road, which intersects the path, and at the end of it was a large torii gate. The decorative plaque that reads “Japan’s No.1 Kiyoshi Kojin” has been a familiar symbol of the temple entrance since ancient times.
According to the explanatory signboard at the intersection, Arima Kaido Road is associated a famous warlord from the 16 th century Warring States period, Kuroda Kanbei, who was imprisoned in the Arioka Castle in Itami and later rescued in September 1579. “Weak from imprisonment and unable to stand on his feet,” he was carried on a door board along the Arima Kaido Road to Arima Onsen where he reportedly recovered. Some may know the story from the 2014 NHK historical drama “Gunji Kanbei.”
In the middle of the approach, I stopped by the Japanese sweets shop “Hinodean” and bought one of their scrumptious yomogi (Japanese mugwort) mochi rice cakes. In the nearby rest space “Sando Event Square” I sat down on a bench to enjoy the snack. This event plaza was set up in 2004 as a place for people to take a break on their way to Kojin-san.
By this time, I had walked about 600 meters from the station. The road on the right leads to Nakayama- dera Temple, an enjoyable 2.1 km hike.
I visited the sushi restaurant “Kiyoshikojin Sando Suehiro Sushi,” marked by its large raccoon statue.
The specialty here is mackerel sushi wrapped in seaweed. The touch of vinegar on the small but thick slice of mackerel is delicious, and the sophisticated flavor and volume are deeply satisfying. I enjoyed this tasty dish while gazing upon the natural scenery from the window.
Passing under the elevated highway, there is an attractive steamed bun and chestnut sekihan (red rice) shop. These look delicious too!
This pair of roughly 8-meter tall stone lanterns are known as “The great lanterns of Sanpo Kojin-sama.”
On the side of the lantern, it is written that they were built in 1922, dedicated by a special devotee of Kiyoshikojin Seichoji Temple. The stones at the crown are modeled after the insignia of Sanpo Kojin.
Although partially damaged by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, they have been successfully restored.
Now I have arrived at Misogi-bashi Bridge. Before its construction in 1911, worshipers went directly to the Kojin-gawa River to cleanse themselves before entering the temple grounds. These days, simply crossing this bridge is considered a type of purification. It marks the boundary between the mundane world and sacred ground. Let’s cleanse our spirit and head out to pray.
To reach Kojin-san, stroll along the shopping street from the nearest station, Hankyu Kiyoshikojin Station, or, though only on Sundays and holidays, there is also a bus from Takarazuka Station to the end of the shopping street (service suspended from April 1 to September 30). Even if you take the bus, a walk descending through the Kiyoshikojin Sando Shopping Street is a fun way to return.
From the parking lot to Kojin-san, there are shops selling Kojin-san’s famous rice crackers and pickles.
The gate of Kiyoshikojin Seichoji Temple is in sight. In the next article, let’s take a closer look at Kiyoshikojin Seichoji Temple.
Kiyoshikojin Sando Shotenkai website http://www.koujinsando.net/
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