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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Shikoku - Kotohira
Kompirasan 
# 1   of 2 most visited
sights in Kotohira

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Kompirasan's main hall

Kompirasan, formally known as Kotohiragu, is the main shrine of multiple Kompira shrines found around Japan that are dedicated to sailors and seafaring. Located on the wooded slope of Mount Zozu in Kotohira, the approach to Kompirasan is an arduous series of 1,368 stone steps.

Over many centuries, Kompirasan had been revered as a mixture between Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple, until it was officially declared a shrine in the beginning of the Meiji Period during government efforts to separate the two religions. Nevertheless, the former symbiosis is still visible in Kompirasan's architecture which displays both Shinto and Buddhist elements.

The path to Kompirasan
Stairs approaching Kompirasan's inner shrine

Despite being one of the most difficult shrine approaches in Japan, Kompirasan is a highly popular site visited by pilgrims from across the country. The approach begins amongst a touristy shopping arcade filled with souvenir shops and Sanuki Udon restaurants, from where it is a 785 step climb (about 45 minutes) past a number of auxiliary shrine buildings and museums to the main hall of the shrine.

Next to the main hall is a viewpoint overlooking Kotohira Town, and the Ema Hall which displays plates and pictures of ships, battleships and even space rockets whose crews sought the protection of the shrine. Interestingly, a real mini submarine is also on display.

Most visitors only make it up to the main hall; however, for the adventurous it is an additional 583 steps (an additional 45 minutes) along a paved, forested path to the inner shrine (Okusha) of the complex. Those unable (or unwilling) to make the climb, can hire a palanquin (5300 yen one way or 6500 yen round trip) up to the main hall or take a bus (see details below).

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How to get there
The start of the long approach to Kompirasan is a 10 to 15 minute walk from JR Kotohira and Kotoden Kotohira Stations.

Alternatively, buses depart from both Kotoden Kotohira and JR Kotohira Stations for Kompirasan. Buses depart hourly and go as far as the main gate of the shrine about halfway up to Kompirasan's main hall. The one way fare is 500 yen per person, and reservations must be made in advance (0877-73-2221).

How to get to and around Kotohira

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User Ratings
Ratings for Kompirasan:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 88 users):
83/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 776):
261.  Hieizan (Kyoto)   83/100
262.  Komyozenji Temple (Dazaifu)   83/100
263.  Eikando Temple (Kyoto)   83/100
264.  Shukkeien Garden (Hiroshima)   83/100
265.  Ryuzu Waterfall (Nikko)   83/100
266.  Kompirasan (Kotohira)   83/100
267.  Ankokuronji Temple (Kamakura)   83/100
268.  Shorenin Temple (Kyoto)   83/100
269.  Town Center (Kinosaki)   83/100
270.  Shin-Kobe Ropeway (Kobe)   83/100
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325.  Zao Ski Resort (Zao)   200
326.  Botanical Garden (Hakone)   198
327.  Meiji Mura (Inuyama)   197
328.  Shimoda Park (Izu Peninsula)   197
329.  Takasaki Monkey Park (Beppu)   197
330.  Kompirasan (Kotohira)   196
331.  Oyama Shrine (Kanazawa)   196
332.  Minoo Park (Osaka)   196
333.  National Art Museum (Osaka)   195
334.  Lake Towada (Lake Towada)   194

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Japanese Links
Kompirasan
Official website.
Koto Bus
Official website of the buses to that run to the main gate of Kompirasan.

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Related Pages
Travel
Sightseeing
Shikoku
Kotohira

Shrines
Shinto

Kompirasan Shrine
Kanamaruza Theater

Kotohira: Access and Orientation

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