Kanenbo Myokyo was an influential fifteenth-century religious figure and the ninth-generation head priest of Shorenji Temple in Shirakawa. That temple was originally established as a base for missionary activity by Myokyo’s ancestor Kanenbo Zenshun, the priest believed to have introduced Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) Buddhism to the Sho River valley in the thirteenth century.
By the fifteenth century, Jodo Shinshu had become the dominant form of Buddhism in the area, and Myokyo sought to extend its influence further by expanding Shorenji and turning the temple into a political force. His ambitions, however, brought him into conflict with the Uchigashima samurai family, who ruled these lands at the time.
The dispute ended in Myokyo’s defeat: the priest and his followers staged a failed attack on the Uchigashima, who in retaliation burned down Shorenji and forced its adherents to flee. Myokyo escaped into the mountains, where he eventually took his own life. The site of his hideout is designated a historical site but is not accessible to the public.
Myokyo’s son Myoshin went into hiding after his father’s death, but later made peace with the Uchigashima and married one of the family’s daughters. Myoshin rebuilt Shorenji in a new location, in the southern part of what is now the municipality of Shirakawa, where the temple again grew into a prominent religious institution. It stood there for more than 350 years, until the construction of the Miboro Dam forced its relocation, and it was moved to the city of Takayama in 1959.
This English description is provided by the "Multilingual Commentary Project 2021" of Japan Tourism Agency.
||Kanenbo Myokyo’s Hideout
||Shirakawa Village Designated Important Cultural Property (Structure
||Designated on June 15, 1978
* Please note that the above information is provided for reference. There may be cases where it differs from current information.