Statues of cranes are in the Nio gate and at other spots around the temple as cranes feature in the founding legend of the temple and Kakurinji means Crane Forest temple.
Located at 550 meters above sea level it is a fine example of a mountain top temple and unlike most other temples in Tokushima on the pilgrimage it has never burnt down. Unfortunately I was there during monsoon rains at the start of a typhoon and so wasnt able to explore the temple as much as I would have liked.
According to the legend Kukai had a dream while in the area that told him that in earlier times there had been a buddhist worship site here so he climbed the mountain to restore it. He found a tiny statue of Jizo being guarded by a pair of cranes and so carved a larger wooden statue of Jizo and placed the miniature one inside it.
Later kukais nephew completed the temple buildings. Over the centuries Kakurinji received support and protection from many powerful figures including Minamoto Yoritomo, Hachisuka Iemasa, and Hachisuka Muneteru.
The main hall supposedly dates back to 1604 but most of the other buildings are more recent, mostly from the 19th Century.