Seson-ji Temple (世尊寺)

Seson-ji Temple is a Sotoshu sect of Zen Buddhism temple located in Kamihiso, Oyodo-cho, Yoshino County, Nara Prefecture. It is also known as the Yoshino-dera Temple, Hiso-dera Temple, Genko-ji Temple and Rittenho-ji Temple.


Though it is said that Seson-ji Temple is the one of the 48 temples built by Prince Shotoku, the details are unclear.

In an article of May of the year 553 in the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), the story, below, is mentioned.

The kokushi (provincial governors) of Kawachi Province informed the Emperor Kinmei, 'From Chinunoumi (the Chinu sea) of Izumi Province, I heard the sound of Gagaku (ancient Japanese court dance and music) and it vibrated like earthquake and sounded like thunder. And I also saw the light as if beautiful sunshine is shining from the sea.'
The Emperor doubted his report so he commanded IKEBE no Atai to dive into the sea to investigate. There he found a shining camphor tree and took it back to the place and offered it to the Emperor. The Emperor ordered a Takumi (craftsman) to make two Buddha statues using this camphor tree. These Buddha statues are said to be the same ones which can still be seen shining in the present Yoshino-dera Temple.

Judging from the tile or Buddhist temple placement which are remained in Seson-ji Temple, it is assumed that it is existed in the Asuka period (the latter half of the seventh century) at least. It is said that the Emperor Seiwa, the Emperor Uda and FUJIWARA no Michinaga visited there in the Heian period, so it is assumed that this temple was flourishing. However, after the Middle Ages, it was repeatedly attacked and destroyed because of successive conflicts in the area.


Hondo (main hall)
Taishi-do Hall (a tangible cultural asset [building] designated by Nara Prefecture)

Cultural Properties

Wooden standing statue of Eleven-faced Kannon (a tangible cultural asset [carving] designated by Nara Prefecture)
The remains of Hiso-dera Temple (a tangible cultural asset [national historic site] designated by Nara Prefecture)


Take Nara Kotsu Bus to 'Hisoguchi' from the Muda Station of the Kintetsu Yoshino Line and walk for 15 minutes.

Take the Oyodo-cho Fureai Bus (Nakamashi - Kamiichi route) to 'Sesonji' (before the parking). It is also possible to take the Oyodo-cho Fureai Bus (Mashiguchi - Kamiichi route) to 'Kitanodai 5-chome' and walk for five minutes.

[Original Japanese]