Tairyuji Temple

Tairyuji Temple, Anan

Tairyuji Temple
4.5
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4.5
46 reviews
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tabigasuki08
Iwakuni, Japan787 contributions
One of my favorite temples so far!
Sep 2017 • Friends
Visited this temple as part of my 88 Temple Pilgrimage. When I visited, the only options were to either walk or take the cable car. The cable car costs ¥2400 for the round trip, but if you take your passport you get about a 50% discount.
Written September 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Michael L
Tokushima, Japan50 contributions
Great Dragon Temple
May 2017 • Family
Tairyuji is the 21st temple of the 88-Temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. If you are planning to do the pilgrimage, you probably already know about it. But if you are merely travelling in Tokushima prefecture, and have an interest in Japanese temples, this is certainly one of the better ones to make a visit to, if only for its mountaintop location – and the cool translation of the name: Great Dragon Temple.

It is located in the mountains south-west of Tokushima City, and is about an hour’s drive from there. There are bus routes to the area, but I myself am unfamiliar with the scheduled runs. If using the bus, make sure to take note of the return times to the city – many buses in the countryside run infrequently at best. Find the bus stop you plan to use as a return and take a photo of the schedule before you head to the temple.
The big challenge is, of course, getting to the top of the mountain itself. Most serious pilgrims will make the climb up there on foot. This will require a good deal of planning and time, but this review is aimed at the more casual traveler of Japan. The second option, and probably most popular one, is to take the cable car from the foot of the mountain all the way to the temple itself. This is a nice ride with a beautiful view of the mountains, but the cost of the round trip (2,470 yen) is often off-putting. Have no fear, however, if you are a foreigner – if you present your passport, the price is halved to a much more reasonable 1,200 yen! (A very poorly translated English sign attests to this – and let me make it clear that any adult gets the discount, not just University students.) And as a resident of Japan, I was able to present my foreign ID card in lieu of my passport, which I had not brought with me. I got the discount.

I have seen other reviews speak of a road to the temple – but I am not at all sure how viable of an option driving up there is. On Google Maps it appears to be an access road for supplies which does not go all the way up to the temple grounds. In any case, there does not appear to be any sort of parking lot in that area, so I rather doubt the public is encouraged to drive up to the temple on their own. Remember, the temple is at the top of the mountain. Even the temple staff use the cable car to get up and down the mountain.

The cable car makes a run every twenty minutes, takes about 10 minutes, and the last run down is at 5:00 p.m. So I would encourage anyone visiting to give ample time for your visit. I would recommend that if you cannot make the 4:00 cable car run going up, you save it for another day. As it was, we just barely made that run, and although I enjoyed the visit, having only some 40 minutes to see the whole complex left us feeling a bit rushed. We had to skip getting a closer look at the pagoda as a result.

What makes this particular temple quite the treat is the fact that it is set at the top of the mountain among a forest of rather ancient cedar trees. The calm atmosphere and the towering pines make for a somewhat mysterious setting. My guess is that if there is a bit of fog at that level, the atmosphere would be something quite memorable. From the looks of it the fall foliage season (November) is probably an especially good time to visit.

I traveled here with my family (including two boys ages 3 and 10) and they enjoyed both the cable car ride and walking around the temple grounds. If you are going the cable car route I would not worry much about bringing youngsters – the trip is a new and different adventure for them. I would caution that aside from some vending machines and possibly snacks at the cable car station gift shop, there is probably not a lot of refreshment available at the top of the mountain (there seems to be more options at the bottom of the mountain in the cable car station there). So I might advise people to avoid going up there just before lunch, especially if you are with children.

There are quite a number of stairs to climb from the cable car station – however, they have rather recently built a paved path suitable for wheelchair access – or anyone who balks at the thought of a direct assault on a rather steep stairway. This path also lets you take a more winding and long trail through the cedars.

If you are doing the pilgrimage, you can get your book stamped at the office before going back down via the cable car. But even if the pilgrimage is not part of your plan, this is certainly one of the more fascinating of the temples that you can see in Tokushima.
Written July 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Benjawan S
Bangkok, Thailand81 contributions
Great temple.
May 2015 • Solo
This temple is Temple No.21 on the Shikoku ohenro trail. There are three ways to get there ; walk (if you're doing a walking ohenro, like me), car, ropeway. The ropeway station was right in front of the short stairs to mainhall. There was no public bus to the temple, so only private cars get there. The walking trail up there is called Ohenro korogashi (steep, difficult to walk mountain path). Because both temple No.20 and No.21 is on the mountains, 6.4 km apart, NO place to stay overnight along the way. So one need to walk to these two temples in the same day. And the only way to get to temple No.20 is walking. The nearest public transport to temple No.20 is a bus stop 100-mins walk away from the temple. So overall the day you hike here will be a long difficult up-and-down sort of day.
But they're worth it. Both temple have its own authentic, special atmosphere. Tairyu-ji itself has large ground on top of a mountain with big trees and great view. The ground is covered by small white gravels which makes the temple looks clean and well tended. There is an impressive big dragon painting on the ceiling of the abbot quarter. There is also a nice gimmink for the pilgrims. That is a small owl frame attached to a tree near Dainichi-do hall. Look straight through the frame you'll see Temple No.20 on top of a mountain far away.

Nice place to rest before the downhill hike to the next temple/ place to stay.
Written May 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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