With 88 temples making up the full pilgrimage trail in Shikoku, it can be hard to distinguish one from the other. But Iwamoto Temple, number 37 on the route, is particularly memorable for its painted ceiling. Around 575 vividly painted tiles make a splash on the ceiling of the temple’s main hall, drawn by artists from all over Japan. Traditional images like Buddha or beckoning cats sit aside natural subjects like hydrangea and cabbages, making the roof a fun study in individual artistic styles.
Be sure to pick up one of the zodiac-themed omikuji (fortunes), which always come shaped in the animal of the year. Not only are the lucky messages printed bilingually but the English version contains a number of clever puns related to the current year’s zodiac animal.