A sutra library donated to Shuzen-ji Temple by Masako Hojo, the mother of Yoriie Minamoto, who had been assassinated. The library was built so that Hojo could pray for the repose of her son’s soul

Shigetsuden, which was built in the early Kamakura Era, is the oldest wooden building in the Izu vicinity. A most unusual statue of Buddha is enshrined there as the principal image, and near the main hall, there are the graves of Yoriie and his retainers.
指月殿 Shuzenji, Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture
(0558) 72--0053


The oldest wooden building in Izu, retaining its appearance from 800 years ago

Shigetsuden is a sutra library located at the foot of Mt. Shika (Mt. Tomine) just beyond the Katsura River that flows in front of the gate of Shuzen-ji Temple. The library was built by Masako Hojo supposedly to pray for the repose of the soul of her son, Yoriie Minamoto, the 2nd shogun of the Kamakura shogunate who had been imprisoned at Shuzen-ji Temple and then killed the following year by the Hojo clan. A wooden structure from the early Kamakura Era, it has been so well preserved that it’s hard to believe that it is over 800 years old and has undergone extremes of weather such as blizzards. The framed motto hanging near the ceiling is a writing by the visiting monk Yining Yishan but this is a reproduction of which the original is displayed at the temple repository. “Shigetsu” has the meaning of sutras, and is a word that provides Buddhist revelations that are beloved by Zen monks. Shigetsuden was once a sutra library that once stored the 5,000-6,000 volumes of the complete Buddhist canon, the Tripitaka, which had been sent from Kamakura, but a good majority of the sutra books has been lost. At present, only 8 of the books remain. One of those 8 books is famous for having a writing done in India ink by Masako Hojo at the end of the book. Currently stored in the temple museum, the real thing can be viewed by visitors.

After viewing the unique Buddha, visit the grave of Yoriie Minamoto

Located in the center of the hall is the principal image of the sitting statue of the Shaka Nyorai (Buddha) which has been prefecturally designated as a Cultural Property. The statue wasn’t originally meant to hold anything, but it is now holding a lotus flower which is very unusual. It is a 2m-high statue which is mostly composed of cedar, and it is the largest statue of its type in the Izu area. The Nio Guardians which are placed on either side of the Shaka Nyorai are even older than the statue itself, being built in the Fujiwara Era. During the golden age of Shuzen-ji, the Nio Guardians protected the entrance to the temple. Following the viewing of the principal image, you can visit the grave of Yoriie Minamoto which is located on the left while facing Shigetsuden. The inscribed pillar in front is a memorial service monument which was built by one of the chief priests of Shuzen-ji, Chisen Bassan. In the back is the grave of Yoriie accompanied by 2 gravestones each consisting of 5 stones piled on top of each other. In front of his grave, there are 13 graves belonging to his retainers.



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