At dawn on Christmas Day I set out on my latest long distance walk, a 2,000 kikometer walk around Kyushu. The Kyushu 88 temple & 108 sacred sites pilgrimage is a modern pilgrimage set up for bus and car pilgrims (hereafter referred to as the Kyushu108). All the sites are Shingon and it begins with the first temple in Hakata, Fukuoka.
Originally built on the shore it was relocated to its present location following a fire by the daimyo of the area Kuroda Tadayuki who designated it as the Kuroda family temple.
It is claimed that Kukai founded the temple in 806 on his return from China but I have also read that it was founded by a disciple of Kukai. Next to the main hall is a hexagonal building that opens on the 28th of each month to display the statues and artworks inside.
The vermillion pagoda in the grounds is very new,... it was still under construction a few years ago when I first visited.
To the right of the main hall is another new building. It houses the largest wooden seated Buddha statues in Japan. It was too early for me to pay the entrance fee to view it, but as photography was not permitted I am loath to pay anyway. The statue is 10.8 meters tall and was completed in 1996. 108 is a meaningful number in Japanese buddhism as it is the number of delusions of the mind, hence many pilgrimages will have 108 sites and why a temple bell is rung 108 times on new Years Eve.