Abemonju-in Temple (安倍文殊院)

Abemonju-in Temple is a temple of the Kegon sect in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple, is Abe-san. Its honzon (the principal image of Buddha) is Monju Bosatsu. The kaiki (a founder) is ABE no Kurahashimaro. Along with Chion-ji Temple (Miyatsu City, Kyoto Prefecture) and Daisho-ji Temple (Takahata-machi, Yamagata Prefecture), it composes the Three Monju in Japan. The official name as a religious corporation is Monju-in.


It was constructed as an uji-dera temple (a temple built to pray for clan's glory) for ABE no Kurahashimaro who was assigned as Minister of the left in the Taika Reformation.

At the time of its construction, the temple was located 300 meters southwest of present Monju-in Temple, but it was relocated in the current place in the Kamakura period. The old location (1-chome Abemokuzaidanchi, Sakurai City) is designated as a national historic site, called 'Abe-dera Ato (the site of Abe-dera Temple),' and kept as a historic park. As a result of the excavation, it was discovered that Abe-dera Temple used to have a Buddhist monastery in the Horyu-ji Temple style in which a tower was built in the west (the left) and a golden hall in the east (the right), and on analysis of the style used in the old tiles excavated at the site, it is considered to have been founded in the 7th century.
In the 6th volume of 'Todai-ji Yoroku (the Digest Records of Todai-ji Temple),' it is mentioned that '崇敬寺 Temple,' a branch temple of Todai-ji Temple, was founded by ABE no Kurahashimaro and that it was also known as 'Abe-dera Temple.'

It is said that Onmyoji (the master of Yin Yang) ABE no Seimei trained himself in the way of Yin and Yang (the occult divination system based on the Taoist theory of the five elements) in this temple, and in 2000 ABE no Seimei Hall was erected.


Main Hall
It was constructed in 1665 and here the wooden statues of Kishi Monju Bosatsu and attendants, created by Kaikei, are enshrined.

Kinkaku Fumido (Nakamaro Hall)
It is the golden Rokkakudo (a hexagonal hall) erected in the Monju pond in 1985, where the statues of ABE no Nakamaro and ABE no Seimei are enshrined.

Hakusan Shrine Main Hall (Important Historical Property)
It is a shingle-roofed building in the Nagare-zukuri style constructed in the late Muromachi period and known to enshrine the god of marriage.

Monjuin Nishi Kofun (a Special Historic Site)
This is an ancient burial mound from the 7th century located near the hondo, and it was almost verified that it is the tomb which belonged to the Abe clan, a local ruling family, and some opinions hold that it is the tomb of ABE no Kurahashimaro. The original status of this kofun (ancient burial mound) is unknown, but it is speculated that it was a burial mound of 25m in diameter.
Cave stone room(s) are exposed and it is said that it is a typical Kiriishizukuri Sekishitsu (stone room made of cut stones)

Monjuin Higashi Kofun
It is an ancient burial mound considered to have been constructed in the early 7th century; it has been called Akai-kutsu and worshipped since ancient times.

Cultural Properties

Important Cultural Properties
Wooden statues of Kishi Monju Bosatsu and four attendants
It is an artwork created by Kaikei, a renowned Buddhist image maker in the Kamakura period, and well-known to people by its common name, 'Chie no Monju (Wise Monju Bosatsu Buddha).'
It is Monju Gosonzo (the Monju quintet) composed of the 7-meter-high statue of Monju Bosatsu riding on a gigantic lion and the statues of four flanking attendants.
Usually, four attendants in the Monju quintet are called Zenzai-doji (Sudhana), Udayana, Saisho-rojin and Butsudahari-sanzo; however, in Monju-in Temple, the statue equivalent to 'Saisho-rojin' is called 'Yuima-koji (Vimalakirti Sutra)' and the one equivalent to Butsudahari-sanzo is called 'Subodai (Subhuti).'
The statue of Yuima-koji was supplemented afterward.

Hakusan-jinja Shrine Main Hall

Electronic Money Payment

In April 2007, Abemonju-in Temple introduced electronic payment systems such as Edy, iD, PiTaPa and QUICPay, makint it the first of its kind in Japan.

The payment for the admission fee, Ema (a pictorial offering) dedication, amulets, the prayer fee, etc. can be made not only by cash but by electronic money cards or the Osaifu-Ketai system of mobile phones (the de facto standard mobile payment system in Japan) through the read sensor set in the hondo.


Take a Nara Kotsu bus or Sakurai Community bus of Asuka Line (available on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays in March-June and August-November) at Sakurai Station (Nara Prefecture) on West Japan Railway Company Sakurai Line and Kintetsu Osaka Line, and get off at 'Abemonjuin Mae'

[Original Japanese]