Shomyo-ji Temple (Nara City) (称名寺 (奈良市))

Shomyo-ji Temple is a temple of the Nishiyama school of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect located in Ayameike-cho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the prefixed title given to a Buddhist temple, is Nichirin-zan.


It was founded by a scholar monk of Kofuku-ji Temple as a dojo (the place of Buddhist practice or meditation) of Jogyo Nenbutsu in 1265. At first, it was a branch temple of Kofuku-ji Temple, and also called Kohoku-ji Temple. It is also known as the temple where Juko MURATA, who is the founder of wabi-cha (tea taste for the simple and quiet), became a priest at the age of 11.

Buildings and structures

Hondo (main temple)

Dokuro-an Hermitage – also known as Juko-an. It was said to be the kind that was favored by Juko MURATA (nowadays this opinion is denied). It is a very unique room whose floor size is 3 tatami mats and has a temaeza (the seat for a host in a tea-ceremony room) made in the Daime-kamae style and, besides, can be made into a 4.5-tatami-mat room by taking out a door sill between the room and an adjoining 1.5-tatami-mat sayanoma (a narrow tatami-mat-floored passageway). It was made around 1804 to 1818.

Cultural properties

Wooden seated statue of Amida Nyorai (an important cultural property)
It is a statue of Amida Nyorai making the hand sign which means Chubon Chusho (one of hand signs made by statues of Buddha, which literally means middle grade and middle birth). The intention of producing an endearing impression for viewers can be felt through its whole body, and the characteristic of the Jocho style from the late Heian period is expressed very well.

Wooden seated statue of Shaka Nyorai (Important cultural property)

Wooden standing statue of Yakushi Nyorai (an important cultural property) (deposited in Nara National Museum)

Wooden standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu (an important cultural property)
It is the statue made from one block of wood of hinoki (Japanese cypress) whose characteristic is its stocky and thick body. It looks like to be a statue made after an old style in consideration of its gentle and well-balanced features, but actually it is believed to have been sculpted in the Heian period (during the end of the 10th century through the beginning of the 11th century).
(deposited in Nara National Museum)

Wooden standing statue of Zochoten (Virudhaka) (Important cultural property) (deposited in Nara National Museum)

Sentai Jizoson (Thousand statues of Jizo Bosatsu)
It is the stone statues of Jizo used to build the castle wall when Hisahide MATSUNAGA, a Sengoku busho (a Japanese military commander in the Sengoku period), built Tamon-jo Castle in 1558; the number of the statues in total is as many as about 1900.


Walk from Kintetsu Nara Station.


7 Ayameike-cho, Nara City 630-8254

[Original Japanese]