Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamon hall, and the land surrounding it, was established as a religious precinct by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro in the 20th year of Enryaku(801). It is forbidden to kill any animals here or pick any plants. Visitors are also requested not to smoke, eat or drink, nor bring any pets.
We recommend that visitors wishing to pray should follow the route marked.
Bishamondô -Bishamon Hall
1200 years ago in this area, then called Ezo, the warlord Akurô Takamaro, infamous for oppressing the people by stealing women and children, had his headquarters in a fortress in the cavern at Takkoku. The Emperor Kammu gave the title “barbarian subduing shogun” to Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, and dispatched him to bring the area under Imperial control. Akurô was defeated in 801 and peace restored. To give thanks to the god of war Bishamon, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro had the Bishamondô built in the style of Kyoto’s Kiyiomizudera. He installed 108 statues of Bishamon and called it Iwaya Bishamondô, a place in which to pray for peace.
In the 11th century, Minamoto no Yoriyoshi and later his son Yoshiie successfully fought against the northern Abe clan. They offered prayers at Iwaya and gave land in thanks. Hiraizumi’s Fujiwara no Kiyohira and his son Motohira endowed buildings and in 1189, Minamoto no Yoritomo gave thanks here after defeating his half brother Yoshitsune in the nearby battle of Koromogawa. In medieval times the powerful Kasai family also worshipped here.
The Bishamondô was burnt down in 1490 but immediately rebuilt. In the Sengoku era, a fire destroyed all the other buildings. In 1615, Date Masamune rebuilt the Bishamondô and gave lands. In 1946, fire spread from a neighboring farm and engulfed the Bishamondô. The main figure of Buddha and twenty other statues were all that could be saved. The temple was rebuilt in 1961, thus present building is the fifth since its dedication.
In its deepest recesses, is a statue of Buddha supposed to have been carved by Jigaku Daishi in the Heian era. It is enclosed in a cabinet presented by the Date family. The figures inside are only opened at intervals and may next be seen in 2042.
Bishamon is a god of war who protects those born in the Year of the Tiger. Bishamon fights demons and invites happiness. If you make a wish for wealth, or a good position in your company, for meeting suitable partner or for fertility, and for success in studying, he will intercede on your behalf. He is also a god of war so that if you have any conflict, you can also pray to him. Prayers to Bishamon are supposed to be most efficacious. Since old times, it has been considered a good idea to write your wish on a wooden supplication board (ema). You can pray by clapping, or silently with hands together.