Rengebu-ji Temple, fulfilling its role as spiritual protector of the Heian Era capital of Kyoto
The origins of Rengebu-ji Temple lay in its establishment in 806 at the beginning of the Heian Era by the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi (Kukai). At the time, the northeast area away from Kyoto was thought to represent an unlucky direction to be avoided if at all possible. Since Sado was located to the unlucky northeast, Kukai had the temple built there to protect the capital. Furthermore, with Mt. Hiei, straddling the city of Kyoto and Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture, portrayed as a mountain guarding the castle in the northeast direction, Rengebu-ji, being positioned in the same direction, was given the nickname of “Little Mt. Hiei”. The origin of the name of Rengebu-ji comes from the unique topography of a temple situated in a valley surrounded by small mountains, with the peaks representing a flower’s petals and the temple, the seat of the Buddha, placed in the center of the flower. Since the sight evoked the image of a lotus flower in Paradise, the temple was given the name of “renge” or “lotus blossom”.
Many beautiful cultural properties with an ancient history within a mountain valley
Historical buildings which have escaped disaster exist within the temple. The three buildings of the Kondo main hall which was built in the middle of the Muromachi Era in 1459, the mysterious Kobo-do Hall built on the side of a mountain in the early Edo Era in 1609, and the Kotsu-do Hall which is the oldest structure in Niigata Prefecture purportedly built around 1348 have been recognized nationally as Important Cultural Properties. Features such as the lotus pond and arbor provide beauty and rest on the temple grounds, and many other facilities such as the quiet Kyaku-den guest hall with its Sanskrit characters, the old and simple Kobie Shrine, the bright vermilion Hakkaku-do and the bell tower whose bell can be struck easily by worshipers with the pull of a cord can all be seen. Rengebu-ji is also famous as a temple for hydrangeas with 7000 such blossoms from late June to July providing a splendid sight. You will be able to fully enjoy cultural properties and nature together at your leisure as you walk through this mountain temple filled with serenity.