Ensho-ji Temple (圓照寺)

Ensho-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Ritsu sect located in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture. It does not have a sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple.
The principal image of Buddha is Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni Tathagata)
This temple is remembered in connection with the Tsutsui clan, one of Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial loads in the Sengoku period) families.

Ensho-ji Temple is a temple associated with the Tsutsui clan, a Sengoku daimyo family in Yamato Province. Although the temple is currently situated in a newly developed residential area in Kami-machi, Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture, it was located in Hayashikoji-cho, Nara City, near Kintetsu Nara Station before its relocation to Kami-machi in 1985.

It is said that this temple was founded during the Kanpyo era (889-897) and originally located in Tsutsui, Sofunoshimo County, Yamato Province (today's Yamatokoriyama City), which was the Tsutsui clan's base, but the precise details of the foundation and its pre-medieval history have not been confirmed.

The origin of the Tsutsui clan is not perfectly clear, but it is known that they were a local clan in Yamato Province and were the shuto (monk-soldiers) of Kofuku-ji Temple in the middle ages. Kofuku-ji Temple was a powerhouse holding sway over the entire province of Yamanto in medieval times, and the word 'shuto' refers to samurai warriors dressed like Buddhist priests who served Kofuku-ji Temple and is almost synonymous with 'sohei (priest soldiers)'. The Tsutsui family also had a 'todate' (literally an outer mansion or suburban residence) in Hayashikoji (at present, Hayashikoji-cho, Nara City) near Kofuku-ji Temple. It is said that after Junsho TSUTSUI (1523-1550), the father of a well-known Sengoku warlord, Junkei TSUTSUI (1549-1584), died in the mansion in Hayashikoji in 1550, Junsho's wife remodeled the mansion into a temple in order to pray for Buddha for the repose of her husband's soul. It is considered that the records of Ensho-ji Temple in the temple register that had been registered in the aforementioned location, Tsutsui Village, Sofunoshimo County, was changed into Hayashikoji on this occasion. When Junsho died prematurely at the age of 28, his heir, Junkei, was only two years old by the traditional Japanese system and therefore Junsho's death was kept secret and a blind monk called Mokuami, who resembled Junsho in appearance, served as his body double. The phrase 'Moto no Mokuami' (to lose all that one has gained) derives from this.

Ensho-ji Temple was in Hayashikoji-cho, which is now the downtown area south of Kintetsu Nara Station, and the site where the temple used to be is in the vicinity of Nara VIVRE, a department store. Since the noise and vibration pollution that arose in the downtown area could hinder the preservation of cultural properties and religious activities in this place, Ensho-ji Temple was relocated to the current location in Ikoma City from 1984 to 1985. The main hall built in the Muromachi period and the stone 'gorinto' tower (a gravestone composed of five pieces piled up one upon another) as a memorial tower for Junsho TSUTSUI (both of which are Important Cultural Properties), too, were relocated from Hayashikoji to Ikoma City and reconstructed there. It is relatively uncommon for the buildings designated cultural properties by the Japanese government to be relocated and reconstructed due to the relocation of the temple to which they belong.


Main hall (Important Cultural Property)
The main hall was built at the end of the Muromachi period.

Gorinto tower (Important Cultural Property)
It is a memorial tower for Junsho TSUTSUI. The tower bears an inscription that reads the year 1500.

There are also the Shiseibo (literally, sacred lodgings) guest hall and Setsuzan-no-niwa garden (a stone garden).

Cultural Properties
Important Cultural Properties
Main hall
Gorinto tower
Wooden statue of Monju Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) riding on a lion and statue of Fugen Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) riding on an elephant
Although these statues are enshrined as the attendant figures of the principal image, Shaka Nyorai-zazo (sitting statue of Shakyamuni) (Kamakura period), they were produced earlier than the principal image during the Heian period. The Monju statue and the Fugen statue may not be a complete set of statues, either, since the Fugen statue seems to be from the slightly earlier age.

4713 Kami-machi, Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture


Take a bus at Tomio Station on Kintetsu Nara Line and get off at 'Degaito'.

[Original Japanese]