Kokawadera - Wakayama

Located in 2787 Kokowa, Kinokawa City in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan, Kokawadera (粉河寺) is temple #3 of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage of Western Japan.

Kokawadera (粉河寺)

Kokawadera History

Kokawadera was built during the 18th century during the mid-Edo period. However, its original structure was established in 770AD under the supervision of Otomo no Kujiko of the Tendai sect.

Kokawadera - Kinokawa City, Wakayama

The pathway going to Kokawadera

Kokawadera tourist map

Structures to see in Kokawadera:

Kokawadera Daimon (Main Gate)

Nenbutsu 念仏堂 

Jorokudo 丈六堂

A shrine in Kokawadera Garden

Another shrine in Kokawadera Garden

The Mizuko or water babies of Kokawadera

It is said that Kokawadera Temple is one of the largest temples in Wakayama Prefecture and in the Saigoku Pilgrimage Circuit. Its temple complex includes smaller temples, shrines, gardens, and halls dedicated to Buddhist Monks. There is also a Daimon (front gate) and another beautiful large gate near the Hondo called a Chumon. Most of these large structures which were made in the 18th century were made using Zelkova wood which was a popular material for wooden structures during the Edo period.

The inner Daimon 大門 of Kokawadera

The four guardians found in the Daimon 

We visited Kokawadera during the 14th day of our 2014-2015 Japan Trip which was actually during the 1st of January. Our main reason when we visited the temple was to accompany our Japanese family on their religious obligations during the Japanese New Year.

The snow gave a more dramatic effect to Kokawadera's  Hondo

Mr. Toshi explaining how the religious ceremony goes

Check out that golden image

Religious objects are sold at the temple complex

The 鐘楼(Shoro): bell tower is located just beside Kokawadera 

We got to ring the bell of Kokawadera!

Offered some prayers inside Kokawadera's Main Hall.

It snowed hard when we left. Thank God we made it home safely.

During our visit, we experienced a snowstorm and for the first time in our stay, I actually experienced being frostbitten. Overall, our trip to Kokawadera was memorable because we managed to learn the step by step process of the Buddhist religious activities during the Japanese New Year.

Kokawadera Admission Fee:

It's FREE to enter and explore Kokawadera's grounds. 

Kokawadera Opening Hours:

Kokawadera is open from 8AM to 5PM.

Why visit Kokawadera?

Kokawadera is the 3rd temple of the 33 temples Saigoku Pilgrimage of Western Japan. So if you want to try out this pilgrimage, you'd surely include this in your itinerary. For those who won't be able to do the pilgrimage but plans to visit Kinokawa City, then visit Kokawadera to see the rich religious culture of the city.

Getting to Kokawadera:

Ride a JR train going to JR Kokawa Station. From the station, Kokawadera is just a 15-minute walk away.

Overall rating


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