Yakuoin Onsenji Temple

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Name in Japanese: 薬王院温泉寺
Area: Ishikawa
Address: Japan, 〒922-0242 Ishikawa, Kaga, Yamashiroonsen, 4区18−40 甲 [map]
Phone: +81 761-76-1155 +81 761-76-1155
Admission: Free

Legend has it, this ancient temple was founded by Gyoki as he sought to climb mount Haku and stumbled across a sacred three-legged bird, bathing in the spring water.

The temple features a series of smaller buildings and statues, including one of the 11-faced Guanyin, known as ‘kannon’ in Japanese and associated with compassion and mercy. Behind the main temple buildings is a path, with each step decorated with a letter from the hiragana alphabet’s ‘Gojuon’ ordering, starting with a-i-u-e-o as a nod to the legacy of creator Myokaku Shonin.

If you follow the path up through the forest, you’ll find your way to the Sazae-do observation deck, via a few abandoned hotels. These are creepy and tempting to enter (haikyo, anyone?) but don’t – there are alarms and occasional security guards.