There are six sokushinbutsu (monks who practice austerity to the point of death and mummification) enshrined in the Shonai district of Yamagata Prefecture where the Yudonosan, which was once a training ground to become a sokushinbutsu, is located. The Nangakuji Temple here is where you can see one of those six sokushinbutsu. This is the latest sokushinbutsu among those enshrined in the Shonai region.
Tetsuryukai Shonin, who is enshrined here as a sokushinbutsu, is a legendary figure. After killing a person when he was young and wandering around the country, he was saved by the chief priest of Nangakuji Temple called Tenryukai. He then began training at Nangakuji Temple. The stories of his various achievements in saving people have been handed down through the generations. He gouged out his own left eye and offered it to the dragon god with a prayer for those who were troubled by the prevalence of eye disease. He also safely completed difficult construction by using dynamite that was extremely rare at that time as the person in charge of the construction to open up a road through the Kamo Pass where it was once difficult to cross over the mountain. After that, he endured severe training over 1,000 days just by eating only the produce of trees and plants (training by eating only fruits of trees and grass). He then fulfilled his wish of becoming a sokushinbutsu. Nangaku Temple was completely destroyed by fire in 1956. However, there is a mysterious anecdote that only the principle object of worship at the temple and the sokushinbutsu of Tetsuryukai survived.
In addition, you will find a spirit hall for Osanami Toshie / Chonan Toshie who was recognized by the Supreme Court as possessing psychic abilities at Nangakuji Temple. He didn't eat or drink anything from when he was around 20 years old. He was then arrested for fraud because he performed treatment of illnesses using holy water. Nevertheless, the presiding judge recognized his psychic abilities because he filled a sealed empty bottle with holy water. It is said that the presiding judge then ruled that he should be acquitted.
This may be a temple protected by the sokushinbutsu and Chonan Toshie - people with mysterious powers. There are various theories about these legends. Therefore, it is up to each person to decide whether to believe them or not. Please visit while thinking about the way these two people lived.