Otani Mausoleum (大谷本廟)

Otani mausoleum is a graveyard in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture where the grave of Shinran, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) is located. It is commonly known as Nishi Otani.
(It is known because of the Otani Sobyo grave [Higashi Otani] which is said by the Shinshu sect Otani school [Higashi Hongan-ji Temple] to be the graveyard of the founder Shinran.)


It originated from the Otani-byodo Mausoleum (later became Hongan-ji Temple), which was built as the mausoleum of Shinran in Otani, Higashiyama Ward in 1272.

Upon the extension of the buildings in the Chion-in Temple in 1603 during the period of the twelfth chief priest Junnyo in West Hongan-ji Temple, the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) provided the site where Otani Mausoleum is located now as an alternative to the site where Otani Hongan-ji Temple had been built. The new place is adjacent to 'odabisho' (crematorium for Shinran) which is said to have been the Ennin-ji Temple in the southern part of Toribeno where the founder Shinran was cremated.

(The 'odabisho' (crematorium for Shinran) is in the precinct at the detached estate of the Otani mausoleum.)

Buddhist supporters continually visit the Mausoleum in the precinct, Otani Cemetery in which gravestones stand in rows for the followers of Jodo Shinshu Hongan-ji school, and Muryojudo (cinerarium).


Otani-byodo Mausoleum (later became Hongan-ji Temple) was built as the mausoleum of Shinran in 1272.

(The details of the history of Hongan-ji Temple can be referred to on the page of the History about Hongan-ji Temple.)
Otani Hongan-ji Temple was destroyed by the monk-soldiers of the Enryaku-ji Temple Saito, West Tower in 1465.

After the temple was destroyed, the original grave was kept safe by a person called Ganchi INOUE and was called Otani Dojo.

When Yamashina Hongan-ji Temple was destroyed in the Tenbun War in 1532, the Otani Dojo was also destroyed. It was restored by Yugan, a descendant of Ganchi Inoue.

Otani Dojo was destroyed again during the Ishiyama War in 1571.

For restoration of the Otani Dojo, Myoyu and Yusei, who were the wife and son of Yugan, respectively, received Shuinjo (shogunate license to trade) for jishisen menjo (exempt of land tax) from Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in 1589.

Upon extending the buildings in Chion-in Temple in 1603, according to the proposal by Zenryo, the husband of Yusei's younger sister, the new place that was given was within the area of Mt. Toribe, where Ennin-ji Temple, in which the founder Shinran was cremated, is said to have been located.

Yusei moved the mi-do Hall (enshrinement hall) of Otani Dojo to Shijo Tomi-koji Street by orders of Kyonyo in 1600 prior to extending the buildings in Chion-in Temple. Then he founded Tokusho-ji Temple (Present Tokushoji with different Chinese characters, a temple for Shinshu sect Otani school).

After the alternate site was provided within the area of Mt. Toribe, Zenryo founded Shokyu-ji Temple by building Otani Dojo anew.

In the site where it was located previously, Sotaiin, a minor temple for Chion-in Temple, was erected; however, the remains of the original grave were preserved by Dosei SHOYO, one of the bugyo (magistrates) for Sakuji (construction) of Chion-in Temple.

Shokyu-ji Temple was placed under the umbrella of West Hongan-ji Temple in 1639.

Thereafter, Shokyu-ji Temple was maintained as the mausoleum of Shinran for West Hongan-ji Temple and came to be called Otani mausoleum (Nishi-Otani).


6-514 Gojohashi-higashi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture


It is a ten-minute walk from Keihan Main Line Gojo Station (Keihan).

It is close to Gojozaka bus stop of both Kyoto Municipal and Keihan Buses.

Information on neighboring sightseeing spots

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kennin-ji Temple

[Original Japanese]