Walk in Risshakuji Buddhist Temple – Yamagata City, Japan

Walk in Risshakuji Buddhist Temple – Yamagata City, Japan

Risshakuji (立石寺) or Yamadera (山寺, lit. “Mountain Temple”) is a Tendai Buddhist temple located northeast of Yamagata City, in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. Its main image is a hibutsu statue of Yakushi Nyorai.

The temple has been a place for pilgrimage for centuries, and is designated as both a Place of Scenic Beauty and as a National Historic Site.

It is located within the borders of the Zaō Quasi-National Park (蔵王国定公園). The temple buildings clinging to the steep, forested, rocky hillsides are picturesque and unusual.

In 847 AD Ennin returned to Japan from studies in Tang dynasty China and in 854 AD he became the chief priest of the Tendai sect at Enryaku-ji Temple (延暦寺) located on Mount Hiei in Otsu (大津市) near Kyoto.

Risshakuji Temple was founded by the order of Emperor Seiwa as a branch of the Enryaku-ji Temple. To this day, a ritual fire brought from Enryaku-ji is still burning in the main temple.

The temple has a long-standing tradition that it houses the grave of Ennin in a cave within the temple grounds.

Ennin died on Mount Hiei in 864 AD.

There is no record that his remains were transferred here, but Ann archaeological investigation in 1948 found a gold-leaf encrusted casket containing five sets of human remains and fragments of a Heian period wooden statue of Ennin within the cave.

Video Source: 山形県|立石寺|閑さや、巖にしみ入る、蝉の声 from Ninikei TV on Youtube CC BY

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