Zuiryuji Temple, Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture 瑞龍寺
Zuiryuji Temple in Takaoka city in Toyama Prefecture is designated as a National Treasure and is a must-see on a visit to this pleasant town in the Hokuriku region of Japan.
Zuiryuji is a Soto Zen temple that dates from the Edo Period of Japanese history.
Zuiryuji Temple History
Zuiryuji Temple was founded in 1645 by Maeda Toshitsune, the third lord of the Kaga domain, to pray for the repose of his brother, Maeda Toshinaga, the second lord, who was married to a daughter of Oda Nobunaga and later a supporter of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the victor of the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, and founder of the Tokugawa dynasty.
The buildings of Zuiryuji are influenced by Chinese architectural styles of the Kamakura Period, when Zen became popular among the samurai elites of the time.
Visitors enter Zuiryuji's grounds through the beautiful Somon Gate. There are seven halls altogether in the temple arranged symmetrically and connected by wooden, roofed corridors. The spaces between the buildings are lawned.
After entering through the Somon Gate, the larger Sanmon Gate appears ahead. This building is designated as a National Treasure and was first constructed in 1645, though the Sanmon Gate we see today dates from 1820, after the original burnt down in 1746.
To the right is the Oguri, an Important Cultural Property, which contains the kitchen of the temple with a large kamado stove for cooking the monks' meals. The building and its attached corridors were restored from original plans in 1988.
Opposite the Oguri is the Zendo where the monks would meditate and also eat and sleep.
In the middle of the grassed central area is the Butsuden, a National Treasure, which has a thatched roof and is made of fine zelkova timber. The building houses a large image of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni.
The Hatto (Lecture Hall) is another National Treasure and dates from the 1650's. The wood used in the construction is hinoki or Japanese cypress. The building includes various earthen and tatami-floored Buddhist altar rooms with gold-leaf sliding doors. Connected to the Hatto is the Daisado a large tea hall with fire-proof earthen walls.
On the opposite side of the Hatto is a mausoleum with shrines for the repose of members of the Maeda and Oda families, who were connected in marriage. Maeda Toshinaga's tomb, surrounded by a small moat in a small wooded area, is an 800m walk directly east along a paved walkway.
Takaoka, Toyama 933-0863
Tel: 0766 22 0179
Hours: 9am-4.30pm (summer); 9am-4pm (winter)
Admission: 500 yen
Access - how to get to Zuiryuji Temple
Zuiryuji is a 15 minute walk south from the south exit of Takaoka Station.
Takaoka is about 30 minutes by car from Toyama city. By Hokuriku Shinkansen, Shin-Takaoka Station is just 8 minutes from Toyama Station. To reach Takaoka Station from Shin-Takaoka Station change to the Johana Line (3 minutes). Alternatively Takaoka Station is 17 minutes on an Ainokaze Toyama Railway train from Toyama Station.
The temple is sometimes lit up at night during the summer making for a fantastic sight.
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