Muro Area

Nara, Kansai

Known as "Nyonin-Koya," or Koya-san Kongobuji Temple for Women. Just 16-meters-tall, the smallest five-storied pagoda in Japan.

Muro-ji Temple, built on a steep slope to the north of the Muro-gawa River, is located in Muro-ku, Uda City, in the northeastern part of Nara Prefecture. It is said that it was originally the site where the Buddhist monk Kenkei practiced religious austerity to pray for the recovery of the ailing Crown Prince at the end of the 8th century, and that his disciple Shu-en designed the alignment of the temple structures as they still stand today. In contrast to Koya-san Kongobu-ji Temple in Wakayama, erected by the Buddhist monk Kukai in the early 9th century, and which prohibited the entrance of women to the temple, Muro-ji Temple of the same sect allowed women to visit, and thus was frequented by many female worshippers. It was called "Nyonin-Koya" or Koya-san Kongobuji Temple for Women.

Many statues are displayed in the main temple. The principle image of the temple is a standing statue of Shaka-Nyorai, a national treasure. In the main temple there are also standing statues of Juichimen-Kan'non, an eleven-faced Kan'non (Goddess of Mercy), and Yakushi-nyorai, as well as a statue of Nyoirin-Kan'non. In Miroku-do Hall, there is a sitting statue of Shaka-Nyorai. These buildings are scattered around the mountain.

The five-storied pagoda at the temple, another national treasure, measures just 16 meters in height and is the smallest of all outdoor pagodas in Japan. It was badly damaged by a typhoon in 1998, but it has been completely reconstructed and visitors can see it as it was in its original form.


From Tokyo:
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 1h 20 min from Kyoto via Yamato-Yagi (limited express) to Muro-guchi Ono Station by Kintetsu Line. 20 min from the station to Muro-ji-mae by bus.
*It takes 2h 45 min from Tokyo to Kyoto Station by Hikari Shinkansen.
From Osaka:
[Rail] 1h from Uehonmachi to Muro-guchi Ono Station by Kintetsu Osaka Line.

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