The Hall was renovated in 1934 by the 17th Head Priest Shincho. This wooden temple complex is made from zelkova. The inner sanctuary is dedicated to Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana-tathagata of the Diamond Realm), The Trinity of Shaka images (Shaka Nyorai, Fugen Bosatsu, and Monju Bosatsu), Fudomyoo, Nyoirin Kanzeon Bosatsu, Jizo Bosatsu, statues of Tendai Daishi and Ganzan Daishi, and Daikokuten. Hereditary stamps of the Temple and memorial tablets of the congregation's families are also enshrined. The Trinity of Shaka images have been enshrined since the temple was founded as the Nichiren Buddhist temple. Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai, although not opened to the visitors, has been enshrined since 1669, when the temple was converted to the Tendai sect. The framed and carved calligraphy "Henshokaku" placed at the top of the inner sanctuary was originally written by the high priest of Enryakuji Temple during the Edo period. This word symbolizes that the temple is dedicated to the most important image of esoteric Buddhism, Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana-tathagata).
This hall was originally a Shinto shrine, called Kotohira-Zozusan 30th Shrine. The building was removed to Myohoji in 1862 at the period of the 15th Head Priest Shin'en. The carving on the inner front pillar is a masterpiece of Hidari Jingoro, a famous sculptor from the Edo period. The sacred symbols from Hiyoshi-Sanno Gongen, Fushimi-inari Daimyojin and Kitano Tenjin are enshrined here.
[Visit the sanctuary of the Chinju Do]
Chokushi Gate (the main entrance)
This four-legged gate is made from zelkova woods. The construction took eight years, and was conducted by the 15th Head Priest Shin'en in 1885. Although the project planning started during the time of the 13th Head Priest Shincho during the Edo period, the actual construction could not start due to the objection of the Head Priest of Nikko Rinnoji Monzeki Temple and the last Prince of the Imperial Family. The approval was finally made after three generations of repeated petitions made by the priests; the 13th Shincho, 14th Shinzen and 15th Shin'en.
Garden of Myohoji
The garden was designed by Kobori Enshu. He shaped the pond a Japanese word "kokoro (heart)", and the rocks were placed as if they are naturally tumbled down from the mountain. It is named, therefore, "the garden of falling rocks". A waterfall pours into the pond, and a Variety of the trees - azaleas, pines, nandins, oaks, and black pines - express the beauty of each season. The cycard trees at the NorthWest corner are known to have inspired the haiku poet Yosano Buson's creativity. The exotic plants must have caught the poet's eyes.
Buson's Haiku Monument
Marugame Citizen's Haiku Society constructed the monument in 1976. Yosano Buson, Haiku poet and painter, stayed in Myohoji several times between 1766 and 1768. He donated six pieces of his artwork to the temple. One of them is the masterpiece, "the Cycard Trees". This is why Myohoji is also known as "Busondera". The haiku engraved on the monument was written when Buson was 59 years old, 6 years after he left the temple. It reads: Mon wo izureba ware mo yuku hito aki no kure. (Going out of this temple, I am now one of the passers by in the forlorn autumn sunset.)
On December 25, at the annual Buson's Memorial Day, Myohoji holds Haiku Meeting to appreciate Buson's arts and poetry.
"Brighten the World at your Corner" Monument
Mr. Matsuda Matsuzo, General Representative to the Congregation of Myohoji Temple, erected the monument in 1987 at the 1200th anniversary of the founding of Mount Hiei. Mount Hiei is the Head temple of the Tendai Sect of Japan. Shinohara Hakushu's calligraphy was engraved on the monument.
"Brighten the World at your Corner" is one of the teachings of St. Saicho Dengyodaishi(767~822), founder of the Japanese Tendai Sect. The Tendai Buddhist community has been widely propagating his teachings as its religious movement. The spirit of this movement is to follow the religious life as St.Saicho taught; "The highest expression of compassion is in the act for the benefit of others without thinking of his own."
Light your lamp of compassion for the Earth !