Myokokuji Temple

Myokokuji Temple

28 Dec 2020

The KANSAI Guide

・ Summary
A temple said to have been founded by the Nichiren monk Nichiko in 1562. The grounds include a massive sago palm of more than 1,100 years in age, and which is a nationally designated natural monument. The temple is also famous for its sago palm dry landscape garden, the only one of its type in Japan and that includes a Rokujizo lantern and a gourd-shaped water bowl donated by Sen no Rikyu, and as the place where the Tosa samurai committed seppuku during the Sakai Incident.

A temple said to have been founded by the Nichiren school monk Nichiko in 1562. The grounds include a sago palm tree of more than 1,100 years in age, standing tall as it looks out over Sakai. This nationally designated natural monument has a powerful legend behind it. Nobunaga Oda, the warlord who achieved the unification of Japan, had the tree moved to his lands at Azuchi Castle. However, every night the tree cried that it wanted to “return to Sakai.” In a fit of rage Nobunaga ordered that the tree be cut down. When it was cut, however, it bled fresh blood from the cut and writhed like a giant snake, and finally becoming afraid Nobunaga returned the tree to Myokoku-ji Temple. It currently has 120 trunks and branches of varying sizes, and is one of the most famous trees in Sakai; a detailed count of branches and description of its leaves can even be found in a text ""Izumi Meisho-zue"" from the Edo period. The temple is also the site of the only sago palm dry landscape garden in Japan, which includes a Rokujizo lantern and a gourd-shaped water bowl said to have been donated by Sen no Rikyu.
During the Sakai Incident in 1868, an altercation between French soldiers and Tosa samurai, the temple is also famous as the place where eleven Tosa samurai committed seppuku suicide. There is a stone tablet outside the temple gate dedicated to the samurai who died.
The temple has also entrusted certain items to the Sakai City Museum, including the presumed founder of the Soshu blacksmiths Kunimitsu Shintogo’s short sword “Kunimitsu,” and the side-sword “Shumei Nagayoshi” of Chogi, one of the “ten disciples” of master blacksmith Masamune, which is an important cultural property.

・ Adress 4-1-4 Zaimokuchohigashi, Sakai-ku, Sakai shi

・ Open 10:00-16:30 (15 people or more requires a reservation)

・ Closed Year end-new year period

・ +81-72-233-0369

・ Official HP None

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