Renjuji Temple was the religious center of the village of Kazura for almost 400 years, from its founding in the late 1500s until the village was abandoned in 1967 due to its isolated location and lack of modern conveniences. The temple site is marked by a stone tablet and a large oak tree, both of which are connected to Renjuji’s history.
The tablet commemorates the Buddhist priest Kyoshinbo, who arrived in Kazura in 1580 from the Kaga domain (present-day Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures) on the Sea of Japan coast after fleeing persecution. Kyoshinbo was a leader in the Ikko-ikki uprisings, a Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) Buddhist movement that opposed the rule of local daimyo lords and pursued religious as well as political autonomy. The movement was particularly successful in Kaga, but was eventually suppressed by powerful warlords such as Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582). Kyoshinbo and some 1,500 of his followers were driven out of Kaga by Nobunaga’s forces in 1580. When the refugees reached Kazura, Kyoshinbo took up residence at the village’s prayer hall and turned it into the temple that became Renjuji. He lived out his years in Kazura and is remembered with an annual ceremony conducted in front of the stone tablet, which was erected by villagers in 1916.
The oak tree at the temple site is estimated to be around 400 years old. It is associated with a legend involving Rennyo (1415–1499), the priest credited with unifying the various sects of Jodo Shinshu and turning the school into one of the leading Buddhist movements in Japan. According to the story, when Rennyo visited Kazura, he stuck his staff in the ground. Leaves miraculously appeared on the staff, and it eventually turned into a tree.
This English description is provided by the "Multilingual Commentary Project 2021" of Japan Tourism Agency.
|Site of Renjuji Temple
|Shirakawa Village Designated Important Cultural Property (Structure
|Designated on April 1, 2015
* Please note that the above information is provided for reference. There may be cases where it differs from current information.