Kaijusen-ji Temple (海住山寺)

Kaijusen-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Chizan School of the Shingon Sect located in Kamo-cho, Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is situated on the side of Mt. Mikami (Mt. Kaiju), overlooking Mikanohara which used to be the site of Kuni-kyo City.

Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple, is Fudarakusan and the principal image is the Eleven-faced Kannon.

The temple is said to have been constructed by the Emperor Shomu to pray for the safe construction of the Rushanabutsu-zo statue (Great Buddha at Todai-ji Temple).

It is the third temple of the 18 Historical Temples with Pagodas Pilgrimage.

History

The details surrounding the founding of Kaijusen-ji Temple are not entirely clear but, according to temple legend, it was founded in the year 735 under the name 'Fujioyama Kannon-ji Temple' by Roben (the first priest of Todai-ji Temple in Nara) on the order of the Emperor Shomu.

The entire temple was destroyed by fire in 1137 but was restored by Jokei of Kasagi-dera Temple in 1208 and its sango and jigo (literally, "temple name"), which is the title given to a Buddhist temple was changed to the current ones'. Jokei, also known as Priest Gedatsu, was a Hosso Sect monk who lived from the end of the Heian period to the beginning of the Kamakura period and put great efforts into reviving Nanto Buddhism and religious discipline. Kaijusen-ji Temple also belonged to the Hosso Sect and, until the early modern period, was under the control of Kofuku-ji Temple (head temple of the Hosso Sect) but later converted to the Shingon Sect.

Buildings

Five-storey pagoda: Constructed in 1214; disassembled, repaired and the pent roof restored in 1962

Monju-do (hall dedicated to the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Monju): Constructed in 1312

Hondo (main hall)

Kaisan-do (also pronounced Kaizan-do) (hall dedicated to the founding priest)

National Treasure

Five-storey pagoda: This pagoda created in 1214 during the Kamakura period has a pent roof, stands 17.10 m tall and the ground floor bays measure 2.74 m.

It was constructed in 1214 by Jishin Shonin Kakushin (FUJIWARA no Michifusa), Jokei's disciple, to commemorate the first anniversary of his master's death. The wooden five-storey pagoda, designated both a National Treasure and an Important Cultural Property, is the second smallest five-storey pagoda in Japan after that at Muro-ji Temple. This pagoda is unique as its ground storey does not have a center pillar but instead the center pillar extends from the ceiling supported by the four pillars around the altar. Additionally, the only other five-storey pagoda with a pent roof to exist stands at Horyu-ji Temple in Horyu-cho.

Important Cultural Properties

Monju-do (hall dedicated to the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Monju): Constructed in 1312 during the Kamakura period and topped by a copper sheet roof

Wooden standing statue of the Eleven-faced Kannon: Crafted during the Heian period, stands 189 cm tall and is carved from a single piece of wood

Wooden standing statue of the Eleven-faced Kannon: Crafted during the Heian period, stands 45.5 cm tall and is carved from a single piece of wood. Deposited at the Nara National Museum.

Wooden standing statues of the Four Heavenly Kings: Crafted during the Kamakura period. Deposited at the Nara National Museum.

Color painting on silk Hokke Mandala-zu (Lotus Mandala painting): Painted during the Kamakura period

Kaijusen-ji Temple documents: Dating from the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period

Cultural properties designated by Kyoto Prefecture

Tablet: 2 pieces; created during the Kamakura period

Temple bell: Cast by Kunitada TANJI in 1527 during the Muromachi period

Color painting on silk Shaka Sanzon Juroku Rahan-zu (painting of Shaka Nyorai flanked by two attendants and the Sixteen Arhats)

Other cultural properties

Six-tusked elephant statue: Crafted during the Kamakura period.

Bathtub surrounded by rocks: Crafted during the Kamakura period.

Mochiage Jizo

Bussoku-seki (Buddha's footprint stone)

Pagoda erin

Nasu-no-koshikake (aubergine-shaped seat)

Pilgrim site

Third temple of the 18 Historical Temples with Pagodas Pilgrimage

Visitor information

Open from 9:00 to 16:30

Entrance fee: Admission to the precinct is free of charge but access the hondo and honbo costs 300 yen.

Location

20 Kaijusen kyogai, Reihei, Kamo-cho, Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture 619-1106

Access

Take the Nara Kotsu Bus from JR Kamo Station for 'Wazuka-cho Kosugi' for 3 minutes, alight at 'Okazaki' and walk for 30 minutes.

Carpark available

Nearby attractions

Joruri-ji Temple

Jonen-ji Temple

Remains of Yamashiro Kokubun-ji Temple (remains of Kuni-kyo City)

Mitama-jinja Shrine (Kamo-cho) (formerly Tomyo-ji Temple)

Kamo Cultural Center (Ajisai Hall)