With its distinctive hillside pagoda visible from miles away when approaching Hiwasa, Yakuoji is the last of the pilgrimage temples in Tokushima before entering Kochi.
According to the legend it was founded by Gyogi, and Kukai later visited and carved the statue of Yakushi Nyorai. It is a Shingon temple.
Apart from its place in the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage, it also receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Japan who come here to pray for protection for their "unlucky" years, ages 41, 42, & 61 for men, and 32, 33, and 61 for women.
The approach to the temple has two sets of steps, the one for men has 42 steps, and the one for women has 33 steps. The steps up to the pagoda has 61 steps. A coin is left on each step as one climbs.
There are some fine views over the coastal town with its small, reconstructed castle....