Gichu-ji Temple (義仲寺)

Gichu-ji Temple is a nonsectarian temple (Tendai sect lineage) in Bamba, Otsu City, Shiga prefecture. The sango (the name of a group of Buddhist temples to which the temple belongs) is Asahiyama. The honzon (principal image of Buddha) is Sho Kannon.

The origin of this temple is unknown in detail. Legend has it that after MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka, or Yoshinaka KISO, had died Tomoe Gozen, his favorite concubine, made a thatched hut close to his graveyard and held a memorial service every day, declaring "I am only a woman whose name is unknown". Some documents written in the late Kamakura period had already told that the temple was called, as synonyms, Tomoe-dera Temple, Mumyoan (house of anonymity), Kiso-zuka, Kiso-dera Temple, and Gichu-ji Temple. Although it was devastated in the Sengoku period (period of warring states), the Sasaki clan, the Omi no kuni no kami (governor of Omi Province), reportedly revived it around 1553. At first it was under the control of Ishiyama-dera Temple, but it belonged to Enjo-ji Temple in the Edo period. Basho MATSUO, a Haiku poet, loved this temple and people in the Konan district, and stayed there frequently. At Mumyoan (house of anonymity) kukai (a haiku gathering) was held very often. Basho, who had died in Osaka, was buried beside the tomb of Yoshinaka according to his dying wishes. There exists a famous haiku written by Yugen, saying "In the coldness my back is on Yoshinaka's gravestone". After that the temple was devastated again, but was restored over several decades by Chomu, a monk as well as a Haiku poet came from Kyoto. In 1793 the temple held the 100th anniversary of the death (99 full years from death) of Basho on a large scale.
Yet, again in the Showa period, it faced the crisis of devastation and destruction after the defeat in the World War II
When it was restored in 1965, it was separated from Enjo-ji/Mii-dera Temple Enmanin and became a nonsectarian temple. The reconstruction money was donated by benefactors.

Cultural Property
Historic site designated by the national government
The precinct of Gichu-ji Temple

1-5-12 Bamba, Otsu City, Shiga prefecture

On Mondays the museum is closed.

[Original Japanese]