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Prior to crossing the Gobyonohashi Bridge and entering into the most sacred part of Okunoin, where the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, is located, you will come across a row of bronze statues, These mostly depict the Bodhisattva Jizo who looks after children, travellers, and the souls of the deceased, particularly those of deceased children.

Here pilgrims and other believers make offerings, in the form of wooden plaques inscribed with names of their departed loved ones, and throw water on the statues, known as Mizumuke Jizo (Water Covered Jizo), to pray for the repose of the departed, prior to continuing on towards the shrine of Kobo Daishi in a prayerful and relaxed frame of mind.

Okunoin is free to enter and open at at all hours. The main cemetery entrance, via Ichinohashi bridge, is about 15 minutes walk from the town centre (tourist office) or a short bus ride (during daytime only).


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