Shakuzo-ji Temple (石像寺)

Shakuzo-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to Jodo (Pure Land) Sect located in Kamigyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City. The sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple is Karyuzan (Mt. Karyu). The formal name is Komyohenjoin Shakuzo-ji Temple on Mt. Karyu. The principal image is Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva). This statue is known locally as Kuginuki Jizo (nail removal Jizo).


Temple legend states that Shakuzo-ji Temple was founded by Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) in 819. It initially belonged to the Shingon Sect but converted to Jodo Sect during the Heian period.

The principal image statue of Jizo Bosatsu in Jizo-do hall is believed to have been carved from a rock that Kukai brought to Japan from Tang Dynasty China.

This Jizo statue became known as Kunuki Jizo (lit. Suffering Removal Jizo) due to its supposed ability to remove suffering, but this name went on to become corrupted to Kuginuki Jizo.

The Legend of Kuginuki Jizo

The following legend exists regarding the name 'Kuginuki Jizo.'
At the end of the Muromachi period lived a merchant named Dorin KINOKUNIYA. He suffered extreme pain in both hands which all medical interventions had failed to cure. In seven-day praying to the miracle-working Jizo Bosatsu statue of Shakuzo-ji Temple, the deity appeared in his dream on the final day. Jizo Bosatsu said 'Your suffering is caused the hatred you had for another during your previous life in which you created a cursed effigy and drove hassun-kugi (approximately 24 cm long nail) into the hands' before withdrawing the nails from the effigy's hands and showing them to Dorin. When he awoke from his dream, the pain in both hands had completely disappeared. It is therefore said that two bloodstained hassun-kugi nails were placed in front of the principal image of Jizo Bosatsu at Shakuzo-ji Temple.


The temple is situated in the east of the area of Nishijin and the entrance gate on the western side of the precinct faces Senbon-dori Street. In addition to large pliers beside the temple path and within the precinct, actual hassun-kugi nails and votive tablets with pliers attached that were offered by those released from suffering hang on the outer wall of the main hall. These are related to the legend of Kuginuki Jizo described above.

These pliers are the pincer type that is used to grab the head of a nail and pull it out, not crowbar.

The poets FUJIWARA no Sadaie and FUJIWARA no Ietaka (Junii (Junior Second Rank)) also resided at the temple and memorials of Sadaie, Ietaka and Jakuren stand in the graveyard within the temple grounds.

Cultural Properties

Important Cultural Properties
Stone statues of Amida Nyorai and bothsides attendants: Housed within a small hall behind the main hall. A seated statue of Amida Nyorai with the hands forming Jo-in (samadhi mudra, gesture of meditation, both hands folded on the knees) flanked on the left and right by statues of Kannon Bosatsu and Seji Bosatsu. The three statues are made of granite, with the Amida statue standing at 91.5 cm in height and the flanking attendant statues each measuring approximately 103 cm. The halo of each statue is engraved with a shuji (the characteristic one syllable word to depict the Bodhisattva, which is a Sanskrit syllable symbolizing each statue). It is known from the inscription on the rear of the central statue's halo that an individual named Ason Tameie SAEKI of Ise no Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Ise Province) became a petitioner and completed it in 1225. The piece is highly valuable as a standard stone sculpture that is known to date from the Kamakura period.


503 Hanaguruma-cho, Senbon-dori Kamidachiuri-dori agaru, Kamigyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City

[Original Japanese]