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Kongō-zue left at Ōkubo-ji, the eighty-eighth and final temple of the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage

The kongō-zue or kongō-jō (金剛杖?) is the wooden staff carried by yamabushi and the henro (or pilgrim) on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage in Japan. The kongō-zue is said to represent the body of Kōbō Daishi and to support the henro along the way; as such it is treated with respect, having its "feet" washed and being brought inside at the end of each day's journey.[1][2] It is inscribed with the chant Namu-Daishi-Henjō-Kongō and Dōgyō-Ninin or "We two pilgrims together".[3] By another tradition it is carried aloft when crossing a bridge so that it does not touch the ground and wake Kōbō Daishi.[2] Pilgrims leave their Kongō-zue at Ōkubo-ji, the final temple, upon completion of the circuit.[2] There is an occasional funerary practice in Shikoku and other parts of Japan whereby the decedent is dressed as a pilgrim and placed in the casket along with a staff and nōkyō-chō for their final journey.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reader, Ian (2005). Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 57–59, 63. ISBN 978-0-8248-2907-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Miyata, Taisen (2006). The 88 Temples of Shikoku Island, Japan. Koyasan Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles. p. 105.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Miyata" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ Scott, David (21 February 1999). "Travel:Around Shikoku in 60 days". The Independent (London). Retrieved 21 April 2011.