Kontai-ji Temple (金胎寺)

Kontai-ji Temple, located at Harayama, Wazuka-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto Prefecture, is part of the Daigo school of the Shingon sect. Its sango (literally, "mountain name," the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple) is expressed as Jubuzan, Jubozan, Jubusan or Jubusen. Its honson (principal image of Buddha) is Miroko Bosatsu (Buddha of the Future, Bodhisattva of the Present). It is said to have been founded by EN no Ozunu (EN no Gyoja) (A semi-legendary holy man noted for his practice of mountain asceticism during the second half of the 7 century), but the details aren't known. As opposed to Mt. Omine-san in Yamato (Nara Prefecture), it is also called 'Kita Omine' (north Omine), a sacred place of mountain worship, and even today there is a gyoba (ascetic practice place), with its array of strange rocks and bizarre stones.


Kontai-ji Temple is at Wazuka-cho, close to the southeast end of Kyoto Prefecture, and is located on Mt. Jubuzan, of which the highest peak is 685 meters above sea level. As is the case with Kasagi-dera Temple at the south of Kontai-ji Temple, there are many strange rocks and bizarre stones, and it is presumed that it developed as a place for mountain ascetic practices from ancient times; however, as is often the case with this sort of mountain temple, the circumstances of its development aren't clearly known.

According to an entry in the historical record of the medieval age, "Kofuku-ji Temple Kanmuchoso Document," dated 1441, Kontai-ji Temple was founded by EN no Ozunu in 675, and was reconstructed by Taicho in 722. Further, it is said Ganan, of Kofuku-ji Temple, restored Kontai-ji temple in 807; however, in the writings about origins it is frequently stated that these sorts of mountain temples were founded by EN no Gyoja, but it doesn't go beyond the patrimony.

It is said that in 1298 a royal visit by Emperor Fushimi was made to this temple, and that Tahoto pagoda (a "multi-treasure" pagoda) was built in accordance with an Imperial order. This tahoto pagoda still exists, and an inscription of Fusebachi (a part that resembles an upside-down rice bowl at the rooftop) confirms that it was built in 1298.

In "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace), it's recorded that Emperor Godaigo dropped in at this temple when he was escaping to Kasagi in 1331, and consequently the temple was set ablaze, but the details aren't known. The temple was rebuilt in 1361, but in 1518 it was burned down again. Today, the temple's overview places it at the end of the modern period.

Temple precincts

The temple's precincts surround the peak of Mt. Jubuzan, with an of altitude 685 meters. The temple's precincts are incorporated into part of Tokai Shizen Hodo (Tokai Nature Path), and other than the southern path from Wazuka-cho there is a northern path up the mountain from Tahara-cho, Uji. A short walk up from Sanmon gate (temple gate) are the hondo (main hall) and tahoto pagoda, and a further walk up to the summit reveals a stone pagoda, Hokyointo. At the eastern part of the precincts is a route for ascetic practice (3.2km, two hours).

Cultural Property

Important Cultural Property
Tahoto pagoda, constructed in 1298
Repair work was done in 1490 and 1681. It is significant that the tahoto pagoda dates back to the Kamakura period.

The Hokyointo stone pagoda bears an inscription that dates it to 1300.

A wooden statue of the seated Miroku Bosatsu, dating from the Kamakura period
Not open to the public

Senkoshuku-hachiman-yonsento (copies of 8400 metal pagodas made by Sen Koshuku, the king of Wu-yueh in China) (deposited with the Kyoto National Museum)

Historical site (designated by the State)
The precincts of Kontai-ji Temple

Rites and festivals

Goma kuyo (fire rituals): The first Sunday in September

Location and Access

Harayama, Wazuka-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto Prefecture
Board the Nara Kotsu Bus at JR Kamo Station, and exit the bus at the Harayama stop. It's a walk of approximately an hour from that point.

The temple is managed by Kongoo-in Ichigon-ji Temple, which is located at Daigo, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City.

[Original Japanese]