Myokakuji Temple (妙覺寺)

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Immerse yourself in Kyoto’s historical tapestry at Myokakuji Temple, founded in 1378 and now a tranquil haven. Relocated in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, this temple is a gem among the “Kyoto Nichiren Shu Meisho Sanguzan.” With ties to renowned figures like Ashikaga Yoshiteru and Date Masamune, the temple served as a retreat for Nobunaga and witnessed the tragedy of the Honnouji Incident. Discover the allure of Hoshien garden’s maple trees, and step into a bygone era where tea ceremonies by Sen no Rikyu echoed through the halls.

Myokakuji Temple was originally built in 1378 in Shijo Omiya in Kyoto. After several relocations, the temple finally settled in its current location in 1583 due to urban planning by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

This temple, together with Myokenji temple and Ritsuhonji temple, is one of the “Kyoto Nichiren Shu Meisho Sanguzan”. It is also one of the sixteen head temples of Nichiren Soshu in Kyoto.

This temple, like Myokenji, had a large site during the Warring States period. The vast building is even depicted in the national treasure “Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Byobu”.

Myokakuji Temple served as a lodging house for various figures, including Ashikaga Yoshiteru, the 13th Shogun, and Date Masamune. Tea ceremonies by Sen no Rikyu were also held at the temple.

Myokakuji main hall

Because the son of Saito Dosan served as the abbot of this temple, this temple became Oda Nobunaga’s regular lodging in Kyoto.

Dosan's letter
Saito Dosan’s letter (copy)

Nobunaga stayed at Myokakuji Temple 18 times out of the 20 or so times he visited Kyoto. In fact, he stayed at Honnouji Temple, where Nobunaga died, only three times. Nobunaga’s eldest son, Nobutada, stayed at Myokakuji Temple during the Honnouji Incident. Nobutada rushed to fight back but died in this incident.

The temple’s main gate might be the back gate of the Jurakuji Palace of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Myokakuji main gate

The garden “Hoshien” in front of the main hall has beautiful maple trees.

Official WEB site

Nearby spots from Myokakuji Temple

Myorenji temple is another important Nichiren sect head temple. It has a dry landscape garden. The name of the garden is the “Stone Garden of the Sixteen Arhats.”

Myokenji Temple is the main temple of Nichiren Shu in Kamigyo-ku. Toyotomi Hideyoshi once used it as his regular lodging in Kyoto.

Myokenji Temple is the main temple of Nichiren Shu in Kamigyo-ku. Toyotomi Hideyoshi once used it as his regular lodging in Kyoto.

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  4. […] suicide. Oda Nobutada, Nobunaga’s eldest son and the head of the Oda family, was staying at Myokakuji Temple at the time. Akechi Mitsuhide’s army attacked Nobutada, who left Myokakuji Temple to fight […]