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Traffic Safety Kannon Bodhisattva Special Feature

Visiting the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva Erected to Prevent the Fading of the Yamanashi Prefecture Meisho Shosenkyo Bus Accident

Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva
Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva

Twice a year, in spring and autumn, nationwide traffic safety campaigns are conducted across the country. The purpose is to promote traffic safety awareness among the public, cultivate the practice of adhering to traffic rules and demonstrating proper traffic manners, and encourage initiatives for improving the road traffic environment by the citizens themselves, all with the aim of preventing traffic accidents. Upon learning about the existence of the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva in Yamanashi Prefecture, I, as a daily driver, decided to pay a visit.

①Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva

Located near the renowned tourist spot Shosenkyo, known as Japan's most beautiful gorge and selected as one of the "Heisei Hyakusen" (Top 100 Heisei-era scenic spots), is the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture.
Over the course of many years, the rugged rocks and unique stones carved by the Arakawa River's flow have formed a stunning landscape, earning it a place among Japan's top five famous gorges and making it one of the country's most scenic spots.
As you drive along Prefectural Route 7, known as the Shosenkyo Green Line, toward Shosenkyo, you will spot the Jizo Bodhisattva with a red bib around its neck at the foot of a steep cliff.
In fact, this location was the site of a tragic accident in Showa 52 (August 11, 1977) when a sightseeing bus carrying employees on a company trip lost control while navigating a curve on the Shosenkyo Green Line and tumbled approximately 300 meters down a slope, landing about 45 meters below in the Tenjimori area. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities and 34 people injured.
The Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva is now enshrined at the spot where the bus fell.

Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva Signage
Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva Signage

It is said that Mr. Kazumitsu Suzuki, the Saishu (Chief Priest) of the Meotogi Shrine, located not far from Shosenkyo, erected the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva in January of 1978 with the hope of preventing similar accidents in the future.
In March of the same year, Mr. Suzuki, in conjunction with the Shosenkyo Tourism Association, held a memorial service to pray for the repose of the deceased.
On August 11, 1982, the 5th anniversary of the accident, during a joint memorial ceremony with related organizations, the bereaved families expressed their gratitude to Mr. Suzuki. Subsequently, on October 16 of the same year, on Mr. Suzuki's 81st birthday, all facilities were presented as an offering. Every year, on the anniversary of the accident, August 11, a Jizo festival is held.

Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva Signage
Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva Signage

Upon reading the signage for the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva, I realized the importance of fully understanding what happened here and not allowing it to be forgotten, to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
While one person alone may not be able to accomplish much, I believe that each individual can contribute to accident prevention by paying close attention to safety.


Leaving the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva behind, we head towards Shosenkyo. As we ascend the Shosenkyo Green Line, where the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva is located, we quickly arrive at the Shosenkyo sightseeing area
We came to see Shosenkyo, which those who were involved in the accident would have also enjoyed. To enjoy Shosenkyo, there are about five walking routes and a ropeway, offering various ways to have fun tailored to individuals of all abilities, including those who are physically fit, elderly, or have mobility issues.
This time, we parked at the Takigami Parking Lot and planned to explore the course that includes Kakuenpo, Sengataki Waterfall, and Ishimon.

The area is filled with souvenir shops selling crystals, just like a Crystal Street.
Crystals can be found in various parts of Japan, but Shosenkyo is considered the birthplace of crystals in Japan, making Kofu City famous as a city of gemstones.
In ancient Japan, people used magatama made of crystals as protective charms.
Just by walking along the street with souvenir shops, you can feel the power of crystals emanating from all around 🔮
The vicinity offers a variety of crystal-related attractions, including the Crystal Gem Museum, crystal mining, crystal crafts, and crystal polishing tours. It's truly a crystal lover's paradise.

  • Shosenkyo Crystal Souvenirs
    Shosenkyo Crystal Souvenirs
  • Shosenkyo Purple Crystal This purple crystal costs 268,000 yen!!
    Shosenkyo Purple Crystal
    This purple crystal costs 268,000 yen!!

You can feel the power of creating crystals from Shosenkyo itself, but let me introduce other power spots as well.

Power Spot 1 Shogyokudo Tying Bells

This shrine enshrines a huge crystal ball and an image of Acala, where you can make wishes.
The cream-colored marble-patterned crystal ball has a whopping diameter of 85cm and weighs 850kg!

When you touch the crystal ball, you'll feel a chilly sensation, and it emits a strong aura.
At Shogyokudo, you can make wishes with "Suzumusubi" (tying bells).
Write your name on a gold or silver bell (100 yen), tie it inside the shrine, and touch the crystal ball to make your wish come true...

  • Shogyokudo
  • Shogyokudo Crystal
    Shogyokudo Crystal
  • Shogyokudo Bells
    Shogyokudo Bells

Gold Bell ⇒ Work Tying (for work, business, and financial luck)
Silver Bell ⇒ Health Tying (for health, healing from illnesses, and health prayers)

Power Spot 2 Yatama-negai

This spot allows visitors to make wishes by throwing gemstones into the offering plate in front of the Seven Lucky Gods placed in the pond.

Method of Wishing
・Purchase 8 types of gemstones (Wishing Stones) from the capsule vending machine (200 yen). ・Throw the "Wishing Stones" into the stone pots of the Seven Lucky Gods as an offering. ・In the central stone pot, offer a crystal ball (transparent gemstone). ・Finally, put your hands together and make a wish.

  • Yatama-negai Capsule Vending Machine
    Yatama-negai Capsule Vending Machine
  • Contents of the Yatama-negai Capsule
    Contents of the Yatama-negai Capsule
Yatama-negai Pond
Yatama-negai Pond

🔮 Eight Beads' Blessings
・Green... Fukurokuju (God of Happiness, Wealth, and Longevity)
・Pink... Benzaiten (Goddess of Music, Art, and Beauty)
・Purple... Hotei (God of Contentment and Happiness)
・Camellia Color... Ebisu (God of Business and Prosperity)
・Yellow... Jurojin (God of Longevity)
・Black... Bishamonten (God of War and Fortune)
・Brown... Daikokuten (God of Wealth and Commerce)
・Transparent... Fill it with your wishes ♡
(Placed right in front to ensure it definitely goes in)

Power Spot 3 Red Amethyst & Green "Jade" "Omokaru Ishi"

It is said that wishes may come true by using this "Omokaru Ishi" to see if your wish becomes lighter or heavier!

Method of Wishing
Pick up the "Red Amethyst" and "Green Jade" placed there, check their weight, put the stone down once, touch the stone with your wish in mind, touch it again, and if it feels lighter than at first, your wish is said to come true. Both the "Red Amethyst" and "Green Jade" felt lighter, so maybe your wish will come true?!

  • Red Amethyst
    Red Amethyst
  • Jade

Power Spot 4 Frog Xian🐸

A lovely pond with frog sculptures placed in it. If you put money into the basket in front, wash it, and use it, they say the money will increase and come back to you💰
Of course, I tried washing and using it! 🐸

Power Spot 5 Sengataki Waterfall

Sengataki Waterfall
Sengataki Waterfall

A waterfall formed by a fault caused by tectonic movements, with a drop of 30 meters as it falls while scraping the granite rock surface.
The water flows vigorously without interruption, creating a loud sound.
If you're lucky, you might see a rainbow in the waterfall's spray🌈
The beautiful scenery can be enjoyed in any season, be it fresh green, autumn foliage, or snowy landscapes.

Power Spot 6 Kakuenpo


Kakuenpo, the main peak of Shosenkyo Gorge, owes its name to the Buddhist monk Kakuen, a disciple of the Zen master Takuan Zenji. Kakuen's practice atop this spacious mountain peak, which was large enough to lay several tatami mats, gave rise to the name.
Standing at approximately 180 meters high, this granite peak has been shaped by weathering and erosion and, together with the surrounding unique rock formations, it radiates an intriguing atmosphere.
As the principal peak of Shosenkyo Gorge, which boasts the most beautiful valley in Japan, the sight is so extraordinary that it feels more like being in China than in Japan.

Power Spot 7 Ishimon


The Ishimon, resembling a gate, is a natural arch formed by massive granite rocks.
Those who are taller need to be careful not to bump their heads when passing through.
This gorge, which has been sculpted by nature's forces over many years, emits a powerful and invigorating energy.

Shosenkyo Basic Information

・Homepage…Shosenkyo Gorge Official Website
☑Public Transportation: Take the bus bound for Shosenkyo Gorge from JR Chuo Main Line Kofu Station South Exit.
☑By Car…
Tokyo-----2 hours----Kofu Showa IC-----35 minutes
Nagano-----2 hours----Futaba Smart IC---35 minutes Nagoya--- 3 hours----Futaba Smart IC---35 minutes Osaka-----5 hours----Futaba Smart IC---35 minutes 🚘When entering your destination into your car navigation system, be aware that setting it to "Shosenkyo" might sometimes result in a route leading to a closed road. As such, it's recommended to enter the name of specific bus stops such as "Shosenkyo Tenjimori," "Green Line Shosenkyo," "Shosenkyo Takiue," or facility names like "Shosenkyo Ropeway." Please note that the parking locations and bus stops may differ depending on your sightseeing itinerary, so it's advisable to refer to the homepage for detailed information.

③⛩Meotogi Shrine & Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya

Next is the shrine where Mr. Suzuki, who established the traffic safety Jizo Bodhisattva, served as the Saishu (Chief Priest).
Both shrines can be reached on foot from Shosenkyo.

Torii Gate of Meotogi Shrine
Torii Gate of Meotogi Shrine
Meotogi Shrine Chopsticks
Meotogi Shrine Chopsticks

Meotogi Shrine consists of the male palace, and about 2 km away, Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya represents the female palace.
Let's start with Meotogi Shrine.
Inside Meotogi Shrine, there is a 1000-year-old chestnut tree known as the "Meotogi Goshinboku," which is revered as a symbol of matchmaking, marital harmony, longevity, business prosperity, and infinite protection.
This sacred tree, known as the "Reimoku," is enshrined in a special sanctuary at the back of the shrine office. Visitors can pay an admission fee (300 yen) to receive guidance and explanations while worshiping the sacred tree.
As it is a sacred tree, photography is prohibited.
As a souvenir, I received wooden chopsticks with "Meotogi Shrine" written on them.
There were two middle-aged women stationed at the shrine office, and one of them kindly explained about the sacred tree in detail.
Originally, the sacred tree was located deep in the mountains about 6 km away from the shrine. In 1958, it was relocated to its current location, and a new shrine was built there.
Fortunately, in 1959, when the Ise Bay Typhoon caused significant damage, it turned out that the sacred tree had been moved from the mountains the previous year, and thus, it escaped any harm.
Next, let's move on to Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya.

Torii Gate of Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya
Torii Gate of Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya

At Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya, I found an amulet with "Driving Shrine Omamori" written on it. I asked the priest about the location of the Driving Shrine, and it turned out that some of the shrine staff were familiar with the accident and provided me with various details.
They explained about the bus accident at Shosenkyo 45 years ago, the establishment of the Driving Shrine by Saishu Suzuki at Himenomiya in response to the accident, and other related stories. The shrine staff shared these stories with great care and consideration.
Saishu Suzuki rushed to the accident scene immediately after the incident and conceived the idea of establishing the Driving Shrine.
It was impressive to hear the staff recount the details of the accident so vividly, even after 45 years. It made me realize the magnitude of the impact the accident must have had.

  • Main Hall of Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya
    Main Hall of Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya
  • Omamori of Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya
    Omamori of Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya

The Driving Shrine is located at the back of the shrine office and is not open to the general public.
I will carry the amulet and be mindful of safe driving in my daily life.
(They kindly stamped my book of shrine Shuin with a maple leaf from the shrine grounds.)

  • Driving Shrine Omamori
    Driving Shrine Omamori
  • Shuin of Meotogi Shrine
    Shuin of Meotogi Shrine
Meotogi Shrine Basic Information

▪Enshrined Deities: Izanagi-no-Mikoto, Izanami-no-Mikoto. ☞Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto - The divine couple of creation. ▪Address: Gotakemachi, Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture 400-1218 ▪Access: Approximately 1.6 km from Shosenkyo Sengataki.

Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya Basic Information

▪Enshrined Deities: Empress Jingū Kōgō  Ameno-uzume-no-Mikoto  Ichikishimahime-no-Mikoto ☞Empress Jingū Kōgō: Consort of the 14th Emperor Chūai. Upon his death, she led an expedition to Korea despite her pregnancy, and gave birth to Emperor Ōjin after returning home. She is worshipped as a deity of matchmaking and fertility. ☞Ameno-uzume-no-Mikoto: She performed a dance to attract Amaterasu Ōmikami out of the heavenly rock cave. She is revered as a deity of arts, skill improvement and academic achievements. ☞Ichikishimahime-no-Mikoto: One of the three Munakata goddesses, renowned for her beauty and often equated with Benzaiten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods. She is worshipped as a deity of safe voyages and traffic safety. ▪Address: Igari-machi, Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture 400-1217 ▪Access: Approximately 600 meters from Shosenkyo Sengataki.

④Arakawa Dam

Arakawa Dam
Arakawa Dam

To Arakawa Dam, which is about a 10-minute drive from Shosenkyo.
Completed in 1986, the dam serves as a reservoir for the citizens of Kofu City.
Although I have seen dams on TV and such, it's my first time seeing a real one.
The grand scale of the dam gives it a sense of being a power spot in itself.
Looking closely, I noticed a lone torii gate above a solitary teahouse next to the dam ⛩.
Inside a tunnel up the stairs beside the teahouse, there were about five small stone shrines, apparently relocated from different places.
It seems that these shrines were relocated here due to the construction of Arakawa Dam.
The tunnel serves as a substitute for a shrine.

  • Arakawa Dam Nearby Shrine
    Arakawa Dam Nearby Shrine
  • Shrines Near Arakawa Dam
    Shrines Near Arakawa Dam

⑤⛩Mitama Kotsu Shrine

On my way back from Shosenkyo, I visited the Mitama Kotsu Shrine.
Although I have passed by this place several times, I had never been aware of the shrine's existence here.

  • Mitama Kotsu Shrine
    Mitama Kotsu Shrine

Located just before a short tunnel along the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, is a small shrine.
Its name is Mitama Kotsu Shrine, a shrine specifically dedicated to the worship of gods for traffic safety measures.

Mitama Kotsu Shrine, Suitengu
Mitama Kotsu Shrine, Suitengu
Mitama Kotsu Shrine Basic Information

▪Enshrined Deities: Sarutahiko Ōkami, Nakatsutsu no O no Mikoto, Otori no Kami ▪Address: Asakawa, Fujikawaguchiko Town, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 1081-1 ▪Access:
・Nearest IC: Chuo Expressway Kawaguchiko IC ・Nearest Train Station: 15 minutes on foot from Fujikyuko Line Kawaguchiko Station ・Nearest Bus Stop: Right near Fujikyuko Line Ropeway Entrance ・Parking: 30 spaces

Sarutahiko Ōkami: Known as the god of traffic safety, travel safety, roadways, land protection, guidance, and safe sea voyages, Sarutahiko no Mikoto is a descendant of Amaterasu Omikami and played a role in guiding Ninigi no Mikoto during his descent to Takachiho. Sarutahiko Ōkami is said to offer various blessings.
Sarutahiko Ōkami is described as a tall (2 meters), red-faced deity with a prominent nose and is sometimes associated with tengu, foreigner, or immigrant deities.
When Ninigi no Mikoto first descended from Takamagahara to the earthly realm, Sarutahiko Ōkami initially stood in a defiant manner similar to the stance of the Niou (the two wrathful and muscular deities) but was captivated by the beauty of Ameno-uzume-no-Mikoto, who accompanied Ninigi, and changed his role to become their guide to the earthly realm.
By the way, Ameno-uzume-no-Mikoto is one of the enshrined deities at Meotogi Shrine Himenomiya in Shosenkyo. When Amaterasu Omikami withdrew to the heavenly rock door (Amano Iwato) due to the misdeeds of Susanoo no Mikoto, Ameno-uzume-no-Mikoto succeeded in attracting her attention with her splendid dance and later married Sarutahiko Ōkami.

☞Nakatsutsu O no Mikoto: One of the three gods known as Sumiyoshi Sanjin (Sumiyoshi Three Deities), which includes Uwatsutsu O no Mikoto, Nakatsutsu O no Mikoto, and Sokotsutsu O no Mikoto. Uwatsutsu O no Mikoto was born when Izanagi no Mikoto used water from the surface of the sea, Nakatsutsu O no Mikoto was born when he purified the middle part of his body, and Sokotsutsu O no Mikoto was born from the depths of the sea when he purified his legs. These three gods are enshrined at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka.
They are considered water deities and are believed to grant blessings for safe voyages.

☞Otori no Kami: Known for blessings related to good luck, career success, traffic safety, maritime safety, and safety on water. Otori no Kami received a divided spirit from the main Otori Taisha Shrine in Osaka, known for the legend of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto and the white swan.

☞Suitengu Shrine: This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Antoku, who tragically drowned when he was still a child. As such, Suiten-gu Shrine is believed to provide blessings for avoiding water-related disasters, safe childbirth, and healing from illnesses, particularly for children.

Given that Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, attracts many tourists with hotels, souvenir shops, sightseeing boats, and boats, this shrine was established for traffic safety and to ward off water-related disasters.
By enshrining these four deities, it is likely that the shrine aims to raise awareness about traffic safety among tourists and locals who pass through the shrine to offer their prayers.

Reflection on Visiting the Traffic Safety Jizo Bodhisattva

While enjoying the sightseeing in Shosenkyo, I visited the Kotsu Kannon (Traffic Safety Kannon), the Meotogi Shrine, which is associated with its establishment, and the Mitama Kotsu Shrine.
Although I haven't encountered any serious accidents, I've experienced a few minor incidents and even know some people who have been involved in small accidents or personal injury cases.
It seems like there's hardly a day without seeing news about traffic accidents in newspapers or on TV.
Nobody intends to cause accidents, but they can happen due to momentary lapses in attention or various reasons such as negligence while driving.
The bus accident that led to the establishment of the Traffic Safety Kannon, which I visited this time, might have been an unavoidable incident even if individuals were cautious.
Cars, while convenient, can also become deadly weapons if misused.
Anyone can become either the perpetrator or the victim of a traffic accident.
Whether you're driving or riding in a car or bus, always make sure to fasten your seatbelt. Drivers should always be alert, and pedestrians should also adhere to traffic rules, such as crossing the street at designated pedestrian crosswalks.
In our new norm of living "With Corona," the opportunities to go out have increased.
To prevent our enjoyable outings from being ruined by accidents, everyone needs to be mindful of traffic safety.
But how can we promote this awareness of traffic safety?
I hope this article can serve as a starting point for that conversation.

Traffic Safety Kannon Reference
☑"Decoding Japanese Deities Using Kanji" by Yuji Yamaguchi, CCC Media House Inc. ☑"Encyclopedia of Japanese Deities and Their Blessings" by Kikuko Hyoto, Jingu-kan.