Muroji Temple

Description: 

Hiding inside the mountain area of Uda city in the northeastern part of Nara Prefecture, precariously on a steep slope, Muroji temple is once considered as the temple of Dragon. People at that time strongly believed that a dragon had changed from a creature to a living stream, known as Muro river, down to the ground and winding through the mountain village. Some others told about a lair of dragon in caves created by volcano on Muro mountain. Whatever they told and believed, there is a truth which can not be denied that a real spirit of dragon was revealed secretly among the locals and Muroji became the temple with a dragon running through.

muroji_temple_welcomekansai

Source: Muroji Temple

It was about the 8th century that Muro mountain had a huge reputation thanks for the unwritten dragon legend about its mystical power. It happened here when the Crown Prince fell into illness that five Buddhist monks gathered to carry out a ritual praying for the recovery of his health. As the ritual amazingly succeeded, one among the five from Kofukuji temple, the priest Kenkyo was ordered to construct Muroji temple at this magical site. In contrast to Kongobuji Temple of Koyasan in Wakayama well known for its prohibition against the entrance of women to the temple, Muro-ji Temple allowed women to visit, even two temples belonged to the same sect of Buddhism. Later, they called Muroji the Koyasan Kongobuji Temple for Women and the temple welcomed more and more female worshippers.

muroji_temple_welcomekansai

Source: Muroji Temple

The complex of Muroji stands beautifully by a red arched bridge that spans the Muro river. The approach to the temple is large, covered by giant shadow of old trees standing on the left side. The Yoroi-zaka slope with little steps to the Kondo Hall together with the Kondo Hall itself create a heavenly landscape under the snow of winter when you look up from the foot of the slope. As slight and soft snow blossoms fall over the roof of Kondo and the upper side of every single step, you feel the whole picture gorgeous but faraway. You wanna immerse yourself in this heaven while you are afraid you are not able to touch it. In the chilling weather, the Kondo breaths lightly and trembly with mellow white air. The Kondo houses many statues including the principle standing statue of Shaka-Nyorai, several standing statues of eleven-faced Juichimen-Kannon and Yakushi-nyorai.

muroji_temple_welcomekansai

Source: Muroji Temple

The Miroku-do Hall keeps a sitting statue of Shaka-Nyorai famous as an excellent representative of 9th Century sculpture which is carved beautifully from wood instead of bronze popular at that time. The five storied pagoda has the original form of the year 800 even it was destroyed by a typhoon in 1998. At the tallness of 16 meters, it is considered as the smallest of this kind across Japan but it is still proud to be the second oldest outdoor wooden five-storied pagoda after the pagoda of Horyu-ji Temple. Muroji reveals a variety of elegant and graceful expressions against background of vivid greens in summer or blazing red and yellow foliage in autumn. Beside ancient cedar trees, the temple witnesses dreaming season of plum and cherry blossom in spring, blooming hydrangea and rhododendron in summer.

Open time: 
From April to November: from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm 
From December to March: from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Last admission ends 30 minute before closed time.
Admission: 
-Adult: 600 yen
-Children: 400 yen 
How to access: 
-From Tokyo: take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Kyoto station. From Kyoto station, take Yamato-Yagi limited express to Muro-guchi Ono Station by Kintetsu Line then take bus to Muro-ji-mae stop.
-From Osaka: take Kintetsu Osaka Line from Uehonmachi to Muro-guchi Ono Station then take bus to Muro-ji-mae stop.
From Muro-ji-mae bus stop take a 5 minute walk to the temple.