From olden times Arima has been called "Yu-no-yama (Bath Mountain)"
with many people coming to have their pain and illness cured. To get to
the Yu-no-yama or Arima from Osaka or Kyoto, people must pass through Namaze.
Thinking it would be a shame not to stop on their way, many visitors to
Arima visit the temple where the statue of Konomoto "Jizo (guardian
deity of children)" is housed. The nearby villagers place great importance
on the kind Jizo since it is this patron saint that protects the children
and women of the village.
In the vicinity of the Jizo lived a farmer named Otoji of Kawabe, who from
an early age believed deeply in Buddha and often prayed to Konomoto Jizo.
Otoji was married and the couple had a lovely baby.
One day when the couple went to gather firewood on the backside of the
mountain, they left their baby sleeping the basket since it was fast asleep.
They worked hard to gather wood and started preparing to return. "Let's
call it a day. Let's go home." At that time, they looked toward the
foot of the mountain and saw black smoke billowing from the proximity of
"Fire!" they screamed, casting down the heavy pack that they
had been carrying. The couple descended the mountain as fast as their legs
could carry them. Deep in their thoughts was the sleeping baby inside the
house engulfed in a sea of fire. Overcome with fear for his baby's safety,
Otoji jumped through the flames into the house.
Inside the wall of fire, he saw the standing form of Konomoto Jizo. The
baby was cradled in the bosom of Jizo and was sound asleep. The always
kind-looking face of Jizo had a stern expression as he fended off the fire
with the strenuous rustling of his sleeve to make sure that the smoke and
spit of the fire would not come down on the baby. Otoji quickly took hold
of the baby and dashed outside. He handed the baby to his wife and tried
to rush back into the house, but in the deep flaming fire he could not
see Jizo anywhere. After their home fell from the flames, Otoji realized
that Konomoto Jizo had returned to the temple. Otoji hurried to the temple
to see Jizo.
At the temple, Otoji could see, as always, the kind eyes of Jizo, but the
face and robe had been blackened.
"It was you, Jizo, who saved our baby from the fire, wasn't it! Thank
you. It is because of you that our lovely baby is alive. I'll never forget
this blessing for as long as I live!" With the mother holding their
baby, the three of them prayed before Jizo for a long time and could not
bring themselves to leave.
Even now, the damage to Jizo's cheek and robe at left side is clearly visible,
and the reason for the damage has been handed down expressing the "Fire