Oppo-ji Temple (乙宝寺)

Oppo-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Chizan School of the Shingon Sect located in Kinoto, Tainai City, Niigata Prefecture. It is also referred to as Sarukuyo-ji Temple and Otsu-ji Temple.

The nationally-designated Important National Treasures within the temple precinct consist of the three-storey pagoda, hojo-den (abbot's chamber), rokkaku-do (hexagonal hall), Benten-do (hall devoted to Benten), Kannon-do (hall devoted to Kannon) and Jizo-do (hall devoted to Jizo).

It is one of the preeminent ancient temples of Niigata Prefecture and many legends and stories related to it remain, including one that it houses the left eye of Shaka Nyorai.

Numerous cultural properties are stored and exhibited in the Homotsu-den (treasure hall).

Origin and history

It is said that Oppo-ji Temple was founded by Gyoki Bosatsu and Baramon Sojo in the year 736 by the order of Emperor Shomu in order to pray for the tranquility of the Hokuriku area.

The temple is also referred to in 'Konjaku Monogatarishu' (The Tale of Times Now Past) and 'Kokon Chomonju' (A Collection of Tales Heard, Past and Present).

It is known from "Konjaku Monogatarishu" that it was also known as Sarukuyo-ji Temple.

It is also said that Basho MATSUO visited the temple while writing "Oku no Hosomichi" (The Narrow Road to the Deep North), and a memorial stone with a haiku inscribed on it stands within the temple grounds.

During the latter part of Muromachi period the Uesugi clan donated an estate of 300-koku and served to protect the temple, and during the early modern period the temple was deeply revered by Yoshiaki MURAKAMI, the lord of the Murakami-jo Castle (in Murakami City).

Cultural properties

Important Cultural Properties (Nationally Designated)
Three-storey pagoda: Constructed in 1619
Cultural Properties Designated by Niigata Prefecture
Benten-do
Oppo-ji engi-emaki (picture scroll depicting the origin of Oppo-ji Temple)
Gyokuban (a flat shaped decoration)
Gold and bronze wreath

Former National Treasures consisted of a wooden seated statue of Dainichi Nyorai, a wooden seated statue of Amida Nyorai and a wooden seated statue of Yakushi Nyorai but these were destroyed by fire in 1937.

Location

1112 Kinoto, Tainai City, Niigata Prefecture

Access

Approximately 15 minutes by car from 'Nakajo Station' on the JR East Uetsu Main Line or take the bus for Momozakihama, alight at the 'Kinoto' bus stop and walk for 1 minute. Approximately 10 minutes by car from 'Hirakida Station' on the JR East Uetsu Main Line. Approximately 15 minutes from the Nihonkai-Tohoku Expressway Nakajo Interchange.