At first, the Jison-in Temple complex seems perfectly ordinary. Located at the base of Mount Koya in the small town of Kudoyama, the temple appears to be no different than any number of Japanese Buddhist temples. But visitors may notice that a unique type of offering can be found all over the temple’s grounds—breasts.
According to the head priest, Annan, the unusual tradition began when a doctor who had come to pray for a patient undergoing treatment for breast cancer asked the temple’s staff if they could place a symbol of breasts as an offering. Not only did the temple oblige, but once news of the unusual request started to spread, the temple became known as a place to pray for women’s health issues. Visitors from all over the world have left thousands of offerings of breasts made of everything from foam-stuffed fabric with beads for nipples to simple wooden plaques.
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