Jinraku-ji Temple (秦楽寺)

Jinraku-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Ritsu sect in Hatanosho, Shiki-gun Tawaramoto-cho, Nara prefecture.
Its honorific Buddhist name is 'Takahiyama Jodo-in.'


Its front gate is rare Chinese-style white earthen gate. The principal object of worship at the temple is Senju Kannon (thousand-armed goddess of mercy) made in the Heian period. A statue of Shotoku Taishi (Prince Shotoku) is stands to the right of the principal object of worship when faced head on, and a statue of HATA no Kawakatsu (statue of HATA no Kawakatsu) stands to its left. On the pedestal of the HATA no Kawakatsu statue, there are inscriptions of September 14, 1665 and 多武峯住 藤室法印良盛, (a name of high-ranked Buddhist priest who lived in Tonomine, Nara prefecture).

According to the temple history, the temple began when the Kannon statue, which was given from King of Paekche to Prince Shotoku and later granted to Hata no Kawakatsu, was housed there in the year 647. The ancient path in Yamato Province (Taishi-michi path), along which Prince Shotoku supposedly commuted from Ikaruga to the capital (of Nara), passes slightly to the north of the temple.

It is said that, in 807, Kukai made a pond in the form of the '阿' character, one of Sanskrit sounds (pronounced as [ə]), at the temple on his return from China. This Ajino-ike Pond (lit. 阿-character shaped pond) is famous for its lotus flowers that blossom in July and August. Also, there is a legend which states that Kukai wrote "Sangoshiiki" (a three-episode long story that indicates differences between the goals of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism) at this temple. Furthermore, another legend states that, while he was writing, Kukai rebuked frogs and told them to be quiet because they were croaking noisily, and so frogs at Ajino-ike Pond did not croak loudly any more.

In 1570, the temple was once burnt down, when Hisahide MATSUNAGA forayed into Toichi County. In 1759, a monk called Ekai rebuilt it.

The monk 恵美, who contributed to the rebuilding of the Great Buddha at Hoko-ji Temple, painted a picture of this Great Buddha in order to raise funds for the temple. The painting was found in 1979, but the shape of its Great Buddha is different from the existing Great Buddha.

Hata Clan Residence
The Hata clan had resided in this area since ancient times. Among them were gagaku (old Japanese court music) musicians and people engaged in sarugaku (old Japanese performing and entertainment arts).
A sign in front of the temple's gate reads 'Jinraku is Hata musicians.'
In "Fushikaden" (The Flowering Spirit) it says that across from this temple was the estate of the Konparu-ryu school of noh. In addition, Zeami (a famous noh playwright and actor who lived in 14th and 15th centuries) acknowledged that he was a descendant of HATA no Kawakatsu and signed his name HATA no Motokiyo. He is apparently from somewhere around the area. There is also an area called Jinraku in Yamatotakada City, but written using different characters (神楽). It seems that this area was also written 秦楽 in ancient times, bringing attention to a relationship between the two places.

Attention is also being paid to the relationship with Shinraku-ji temple (新楽寺) that used to exist somewhere in the area (Moriya or Muraya [reading unknown] which may refer to Iyoto-mura village in the northeast) but does not exist anymore.

Proposed Site of Kasanui no Mura
Kasuga-jinja Shrine and Kasanui-jinja Shrine stand next to each other southeast of the temple precinct. Kawanui-jinja Shrine in particular is considered a possible site of Kawanui no Mura (where the imperial ancestral deity Amaterasu Omikami was moved from the Imperial Court and worshipped by Toyosukiiribime no mikoto, before being transferred to Ise). Unlike jingu-ji temples (temples associated with and built in shrines) seen before the Ordinance Distinguishing Shinto and Buddhism, these are shrines that stand within a temple.


About 200 meters northwest of Kasanui Station on the Kintetsu Kashihara Line of the Kintetsu Railway.

[Original Japanese]