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Murouji temple

Murouji templeMurouji is a Buddhist temple of Shingon school, and is located in Uda city.
It is located about 35 km south-east of Nara city, and is in the mountain between Nara and Mie Prefectures.
Hasedera temple is about 15 km west of this temple. And Akame-48-waterfalls in Mie Prefecture are about 5 km northeast of this temple.

Murouji temple is in the valley formed by Murou River.
In the 770s, when Prince Yamabe (He became Emperor Kanmu later.) got ill, he was treated with a purification ceremony to live longer, around this area. Surprisingly, he had had completely recovered.
So the government founded this temple.

The first priests were sent from Kofukuji in Nara city, so this temple had belong to the region of Kofukuji for a long time.
In 1698, this temple changed the region to Shingon school.
Since that, this temple has always allowed women to visit. Famous Mount Koya (Kongobuji temple) in Wakayama Prefecture hadn't permitted it, so Murouji has been called "Nyonin-Koya" (Mt.Koya for women).

The buildings are set up on the slope of mountain, so we walk up many stone steps.
After passing through Niomon gate, we reach Kondo and Mirokudo, first.
Kondo was built around the late 9th century, and is designated as a national treasures.
Mirokudo was built around the 13th century, but had often been modified since that.

After we walk up from there, we reach Hondo (mein temple).
It was built in 1308, and is designated as a national treasures.

Additionally we walk up stone steps.
At last, we reach Five-story pagoda, the symbol of Murouji.
It was built around 800, and is the second oldest wooden five-story pagoda in Japan, after the pagoda in Horyuji. The height is about 16 meters, and is relatively small as five-story pagoda.

In 1997, the strong wind by a typhoon knocked down a high tree by this pagoda, and it broke the pagoda.
Fortunately the central pillar and the main parts of the pagoda were kept safe, so this pagoda was repaired from 1999 to 2000.
When the recovery efforts were performed, Nara Research Institute for Cultural Properties investigated the age of the woods of the pagoda with dendrochronology.
They found that the woods were logged around 794.

How to get to here

By railroad

By Kintestsu Osaka Line, get off at Murouguchi-Oono station.
By route bus, about 15 minutes from there.

Taikobashi bridge and Front gate
©Yasufumi Nishi / © JNTO
Niomon gate
Photo by Rettou-Homotsukan
Photo by Rettou-Homotsukan
Stone steps in Murouji
©Yasufumi Nishi / © JNTO
Photo by Rettou-Homotsukan
Five-story pagoda
Photo by Kogashitsu-kabegami
Five-story pagoda
Photo by Kogashitsu-kabegami

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