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Hesoishi (Bellybutton Stone) at Rokkaku-do

Choho-ji (頂法寺) temple, also known as Rokkaku-do (六角堂), located in the office area of Kyoto, is the 18th site of Saigoku sanjusan kasho kannon reijo (西国三十三所観音霊場) pilgrimage.

The temple is said to be founded by the prince Shotoku (聖徳太子, a semi-legendary regent and a politician of the Asuka period), and its history is very old.

On the premises, there is a hexagonal stone called Hesoishi (へそ石). The stone can be easily overlooked because it is not so eye-catching, however, the story about the stone is very interesting:

At the time of construction of Heian Kyo (平安京, the former name of Kyoto, as the former capital of Japan), a new street was going to be located across the premises of Rokkaku-do according to the new city planning. Funny, but in oredr to solve the problem, Rokkaku-do itself moved northward for 15 meters, leaving Hesoishi alone on its orignal location. Today, Hesoishi has been safely transferred into the new premises again.

Here’s one more interesting things. The current location of Hesoishi is said to be at the very center of Kyoto. That’s where the name of Heso (Bellybutton) came from. It’s nice to visit there and see it.

Akane Kibune

5mins. on foot from Karasuma Oike station, Kyoto subway