Kimiidera Temple is well worth a visit if you happen to be in Wakayama City. Wakayama may not be so well known to foreign tourists but it has a number of attractions and is conveniently located near Kansai International Airport, the main airport for Osaka.
Kimiidera is located in the south of the city, on a wooded hillside with fine views over the city and surrounding coastline. The gardens are studded with 1,200 cherry trees and in spring time the temple is famous for its early blooming cherry blossom. My visit was on a cloudy, hot and humid day in July so I missed the sakura but it was still a pretty place.
Kimiidera means three fountain temple and the temple's fresh water springs have never dried up in the 1,250 years since the temple was founded by Iko Shonin, a Buddhist saint. The springs are known as the Well of Purity, the Well of Healing and the Well of Good Fortune.
The temple is the second stop on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage route of 33 temples in Kansai, the oldest pilgrimage route in Japan.
This modern building houses the Senju Kannon statue. From the observation deck you can enjoy the best views.
The 11 meter tall gilded goddess of mercy statue, Senju Kannon, is a relatively new addition built in 2008. It is claimed to be the largest standing wooden statue in Japan.
Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
The location of the temple can be found on this map:
The temple is about 10 minutes walk from JR Kimiidera Station. You have to climb around 230 steps to reach the main hall.
1201 Kimiidera, Wakayama, 641-0012
You can find more details on their Facebook page.