Tenonji Temple in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect. The temple was founded by the Zen monk Kensho Goshin in 1362 by the order of the 3rd Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, on behalf of his grandfather, Ashikaga Takauji, who had made a vow before he died that he would construction a temple at this place in appreciation for the fulfillment of his prayer for victory.
The stately main gate built in the Yakuimon style looks like a castle gate. The main hall is a Chinese-styled building with the large camber on the outer side of the roof. It is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property. In front of the main hall is a Hojo-ike Pond (set living things free pond), which is typical to a Zen temple.
In the precinct stands a huge cedar tree named “Ieyasu-ko Mikaeri-no-sugi (the cedar tree that Ieyasu looked back at).” According to a legend, when Tokugawa Ieyasu visited this temple to pray for his victory, he heard someone calling his name. He turned around to see who it was, when an assassin was just going to launch an arrow at him from behind a huge cedar tree. It was Enmei Jizo Bosatsu (Life Lengthening Jizo) that called him and Ieyasu narrowly escaped from being shot. When he left the temple for a battle field, Ieyasu looked back at the cedar tree over and over again to show his gratitude to Jizo Bosatsu.
Heishoji Temple in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. According to the temple record written in 1616, it was founded by Prince Shotoku (574-622); it later became a temple of the Tendai sect and named Dandokuzan Daihimitsuin Temple; and when Prince Hirakatsu (平勝), the 3rd son of Emperor Go-Daigo, visited this temple to pray for victory, the temple name was changed to Heishoji (平勝寺).
The principal object of worship is the treasured wooden statue of Kannon Bosatsu. It was carved with the Yosegi-zukuri (assembled wood) technique and the writing contained inside the statue shows that it was made in 1159. The display of this secret Buddha is held once every 17 years. It is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property.
Unpoji Temple in Enzan Kamihagihara, Koshu City, Yamanashi Prefecture is a temple of the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect. Its sango (the name of the mountain where the temple is located) is Sakeishizan. It is said that the temple was founded in 745. Legend has it that when the monk Gyoki was perform the ascetic practices in this mountain, a stone was struck by a thunder and it was split in two, from which the image of Juichimen Kannon (Kannon with eleven faces) appeared. Gyoki carved this image on the bark of a nearby tree and made it the principal object of worship.
The temple buildings were all reconstructed during the Warring States period (1493-1573) by Takeda Nobutora, the 18th head of the Takeda clan. The Hondo (main hall), Kuri (the priest’s quarters) and Shin (the reception room) are all designated as National Important Cultural Properties. Japans oldest Rising Sun flag and the Sun Tzu’s flag, or commonly known as the Furinkazan battle flag, and Suwa Jingoki flag (the flag on which the name of the war god Suwa Myojin is written) are preserved and displayed in the treasure house, which shows that the temple had a close connection with the Takeda clan. In the precinct is a 100-year-old cherry tree called “Mine-no-sakura (a cherry tree in the peak),” which produces bright pink flowers in spring.
Shigi-san Chougosonshi-ji Temple is the head temple of the Shigi-san faction of Shingon Buddhism and is located in Mt. Shigi in Heguri Town, Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. It is also the head temple of Bishamonten, one of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune. Mt. Shigi is said to be the first place in Japan where Bishamonten appeared. Legend has it that when Prince Shoutoku-taishi prayed for victory over Mononobe no Moriya, - an opponent of the Buddhism that the prince was promoting - Bishamonten appeared on Mt. Shigi at the hour of the tiger, on the day of the tiger, in the year of the tiger, and led the prince to victory. To express his deep gratitude, the prince built a temple dedicated to Bishamonten in 594 and named the temple Shigi-san which can be translated as “the mountain to be trusted and respected”. This anecdote is believed to be a reason why paper-tigers are placed around the temple. Affectionately known as “Shigi no Bishamon-san”, the temple is especially crowded with visitors during their first visit of the year (New Year’s Day). As the temple enshrines Bishamonten, the original god of war and warriors, and also has a tiger as a guardian god, Chougosonshi-ji Temple is also famous for attracting professional baseball players from the Hanshin Tigers who go there to pray for victory.