Jurin-in Temple (十輪院)

Jurin-in Temple, located in Jurin-in Town, Nara City, Nara Prefecture, is a temple that belongs to the Daigo school of the Shingon sect. Its sango (literally "mountain name", a title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple) is Uho-san Mountain. Its principle image is a stone Jizo Bosatsu of Ksitigarbha. It is said to have been founded by ASANO no Nakai. It is located in a corner of the town which retains many buildings of the Edo and Meiji periods.


It was originally an annex of a larger temple called Gango-ji Temple, and according to temple legend ASANO no Nakai, the eldest son of the Minister of the Right KIBI no Makibi, received Empress Gensho's former palace and rebuilt it as a temple in the Nara Period. After the medieval period it prospered as a temple for jizo (Ksitigarbha or guardian deity) worship by the common people. ASANO no Nakai is said to have been a master of calligraphy and Kukai's calligraphy teacher, but details of his life are unclear. Modern works such as "Yamato Meishoki (Washu Kyuseki Yuko)" (Yamato Guide to Notable Places) relate that Jurin-in Temple was established by Kobo Daishi (Kukai), but the accurate time and circumstances surrounding its establishment are unclear.

The first appearance of the name Jurin-in Temple in literature is said to be in the collection of Buddhist stories from the Kamakura Period, Shasekishu (composed 1283). Although the accurate dates are uncertain, the existing hondo (main building), the sekibutsugan (stone Buddhist altar) and the treasury (which was relocated to Tokyo) are all considered to be from the Kamakura Period, and it is thought that Jurin-in Temple prospered as a place for jizo worship during the Kamakura Period.


The hondo (a National Treasure) is a residential style Buddhist temple of the Kamakura Period, built as a prayer hall to worship the sekibutsugan placed within the sheltering hall located behind. It is a rectangular building with hip-and-gable roofing. The building is low throughout, with latticed shutters above the veranda at the front and an overall design which is very residential in style. The use of wide boards for the underside of the roof rather than the rafters is also a characteristic that differs from general Buddhist temple architecture.

The Goei-do Hall (a hall dedicated to the sect's founder), a cultural property designated by Nara Prefecture, was constructed in 1650
The Goma-do Hall is a hall where the goma rites take place. The South Gate (an Important Cultural Property) is a four-pillar gate with hip-and-gable roofing.
This four-pillar gate was also constructed in the Kamakura Period

The 'Old Jurin-in Temple Treasury' (an Important Cultural Property) housed within the Tokyo National Museum was originally located at this temple, and was relocated to Tokyo in 1882. It is a small-scale Azekura-zukuri style warehouse constructed in the Kamakura Period.

National Treasures

The hondo, as mentioned above.

Important Cultural Properties

South Gate
The sekibutsugan (kept inside the sheltering hall) is a stone Buddhist altar made completely out of granite, which is extremely rare in Japan. It is 3m wide by 2.5m deep by 2.3m high; a Jizo Bosatsu statue is in the center, and around it are statues of the ten underworld kings positioned along the walls to the left and right, and in front of these statues depict Miroku Bosatsu, Shaka Nyorai, Fudo Myoo and Kannon Bosatsu, and further outside the arrangement statues of a gorinto (five-level pagoda), Jikokuten (Dhrtarastra), Tamonten (Vaisravana) and Kongo Rishiki (Nio) are displayed. The Jizo Bosatsu statue is from the early Kamakura Period, and the other statues are from a somewhat later time. This sekibutsugan has been designated as an Important Cultural Property, not as a sculpture, but as architecture.

There is also a wooden statue of Fudo Myoo with two children located in the Goma-do Hall. This piece is from the late Heian Period.

Cultural Properties Designated by Nara Prefecture

Goei-do Hall
In the Goei-do Hall there is a color painting of Amida Jodo, the pure land of Amida, on silk, known as the Chiko Mandala.

Other factors of note

The tomb of Eigo KAWASHIMA is located here.


From JR Yamatoji line Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station take the Nara Kotsu bus (for Tenri Station), and walk from Fukuchiin-cho bus stop.

[Original Japanese]