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Photo By: PIXTA/ kattyan
Largest City

Sanno-ji Temple

By Elizabeth Sok

Located just a short train ride from Fukuoka City’s Hakata station, Sanno Temple is a great day trip away from Kyushu’s largest urban center. For colorful festivals and spirituality set against a forested backdrop, pay a visit to Sanno Temple.

Sanno Temple

Sanno Temple

Photo by: PIXTA/ kattyan The temple’s sect of Buddhism has roots in seventh and eighth-century China.

Sanno Temple belongs to the Shingon Sect of Buddhism which has roots in seventh and eighth century China. In the eighth and ninth centuries, a Japanese monk posthumously known as Kobo Daishi made a pilgrimage to China to study this form of esoteric Buddhism and returned to Japan with teachings in tow. In Wakayama prefecture, he established the Shingon sect at Mount Koya, a Buddhist compound designed to educate and shape the next generation of monks and scholars.

In honor of this relationship, Sanno Temple houses a seated statue of Kobo Daishi measuring about three meters tall in Daishido Hall, one of the largest dedicated to the influential teacher in Japan. The temple complex is also home to a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the most important deity in Shingon Buddhism, also known as the Cosmic Buddha.

Sasaguri Pilgrimage

Sannoji Temple

Photo by: PIXTA/ Eizo One of the 61 stops on the pilgrimage.

Sanno Temple is stop number 61 on the Sasaguri pilgrimage. Started almost two hundred years ago, the Sasaguri pilgrimage is a collection of 88 sacred sites around the Sasaguri area. Inspired by the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage which has a much longer history, this one is also completed by those wishing for good fortune and health. The trek can take almost a week on foot or about two days using a car and measures about 50 kilometers from start to finish.

Be sure to bring a goshuincho, a special stamp book used for recording which shrines and temples you have visited. Along the way, you can collect a stamp from each site.

Wind Chime Festival

Sannoji Temple

Photo by: PIXTA/ yn.rising Purchase your own chime at the temple.

If you happen to make the trip out to Sanno Temple between May and early October, it won’t be too hard to find as you approach the site.

During this period, the temple hosts a wind chime festival where the grounds are decorated with up to 3000 glass semi-spherical bells complete with rectangular strips of paper detailing people’s wishes. This festival has long attracted many shutterbugs for its sea of colors and cacophony of chimes.

Visitors to the temple can also purchase their own bells to add to the collection. September temple-goers are in for a bonus treat as the chimes are illuminated at night on select days.

Things To Know


The temple is open all day every day and admission is free.


How To Get There


By train

From Hakata station, take the JR Sasaguri Line and get off at JR Chikuzen Yamate station. The temple will be about 15 minutes away on foot. 

By car

From JR Chikuzen Yamate station, it takes about five minutes by car or taxi to reach the temple. 

Where To Stay

Route-Inn Grantia Fukuoka Miyawaka Wakita Onsen
  • 778-1 Wakita, Miyawaka-shi, Fukuoka, 822-0133 Japan
  • ¥9,650 - ¥20,300
  • 4.33/5 (247 reviews)
  • 9.0 km

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