Chionji Temple

Pray for academic achievement and success in school

Located on the south side of Amanohashidate, a scenic spot known as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan,
Amanohashidate, which is known as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan.

The temple’s principal deity is Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri), who is said to be in charge of wisdom, and is said to be the “wisdom of three people coming together.
The temple has long been worshipped as a source of wisdom, and students and their families visit the temple to pray for academic achievement and success in entrance examinations.

Sacred place of Monju worship since ancient times

Chion-ji Temple is famous as "Monju-san", a god of wisdom, and its principal image, a wooden Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri), is designated as a national important cultural property.

According to the "Kuze-do Engi", an ancient document describing the traditions of this place, the sea between Chion-ji Temple and a small island connected by a ferry bridge is called Kuze-do (part of Amanohashidate).
The main deity is a one-character monju, which means "the door of the ninth house, Amanohashidate."

For this reason, it is also called Monju of Kuzeido, and has been well known to people.

Monju Bosatsu is the Buddha of wisdom.
Together with Abe Monju-in Temple (Nara Prefecture) and Daishoji Temple (Yamagata Prefecture), it is considered one of the three Monju in Japan.

Main Monju Hall

The main hall, Monju-do, is an elegantly shaped copper-shingle roofed building where the principal image of Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) is enshrined.
When the hall was reconstructed in 1657, the four pillars in the center of the hall were taken from the original building, and the letters written by visitors during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) remain.

Since the main image is considered a hidden Buddha, it can only be seen on five days a year during the Gokaicho (open-air Buddhist rituals).

Omikuji with a fan

The Suehiro Senshi Omikuji, which is a kind of omikuji (fortune), is tied to a pine tree on the temple grounds, and fans are tied everywhere.

Sanmon (three gates) built by more than 8,000 carpenters

The largest gate in the Tango region, the Sanmon Gate, which was rebuilt in 1767, stands tall at the entrance of Chion-ji Temple.
It is also called "Koganegaku" (Gold Pavilion) because of the gift of gold from Emperor Go-Sakuracho, and it is said that more than 8,000 carpenters were involved in its reconstruction.

It is a full-fledged Zen-style gate with three rooms, three doors, and a two-storied gate, with Shakyamuni Buddha at the top and two side pillars and sixteen arhats in the center.

Important Cultural Property: Tahoudo Pagoda

The Tahoudo is said to have been built in 1501 by Harunobu En'ei, the governor of Tango Province and lord of Fuchu Castle, in gratitude for his complete recovery from illness.

It is the only building in the Tango region built in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), and Dainichi Nyorai is enshrined in the center. It is designated as a national important cultural property.

Tezui-bachi with a bathtub

This iron bathtub was created in 1290 by a foundryman in Kawachi Province.
It was used for bathing priests in the temple's large bathhouse, and is now used as a water fountain for visitors to cleanse themselves.
This iron bathtub is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.

“Chie-no-mochi” (rice cake of wisdom) that bestows wisdom

In front of the temple gate is the Monzenmachi (street in front of the gate), lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), hotels, and minshuku (private residences).
The "Chie-no-mochi" rice cake, a specialty of Amanohashidate, is made only at the four teahouses lined up in the Monzenmachi.
It is said that if you eat it, you will be blessed with wisdom.

More than 300 years ago, when there was only a beach in front of Chion-ji Temple, an old woman started selling rice cakes in front of the gate.
According to a legend, she received wisdom from eating this rice cake, and it is called "Chie-no-mochi.

The rice cake is soft and pure white with a rich flavorful red bean paste, and can only be tasted here.

Kaisen Bridge

In the past, visitors crossed from Chion-ji Temple to Amanohashidate by ferry, known as "Kusedo no Watashi" (ferry of Kusedo).
In paintings drawn by the Edo period (1603-1867), the distance from the south side of Amanohashidate to the land is quite far.
From the late Edo period to the early Meiji period, a small island called Kotenbashi was formed in Kusedo (the sea between the two).

A movable bridge was built in 1923 to pass Kotenbashi from the land.
This bridge is unusual in that the center of the bridge turns 90 degrees manually whenever a large ship passes over it.
In 1957, the turning became motorized and the bridge became the current turning bridge.

Wisdom Wheel Lantern

A lantern built in the Edo period (1603-1867) to pray for safe voyages was placed beside the turning bridge, and the lights inside the circle served as a beacon for ships coming and going.
It is said that local people called this stone lantern, which has protected the Kuseto ferry, "Wisdom Circle Lantern," because they felt it was the light of Monju Bosatsu's mercy,
It is said that if one passes through the circle of this lantern three times, wisdom will be bestowed upon him.

Formation of Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate separates Miyazu Bay and the inland Aso Sea from north to south,
Amanohashidate is a narrow sandbar, 20 to 170 meters wide and 3.6 kilometers long.
Amanohashidate has a unique topography with approximately 5,000 pine trees growing on a narrow sandbar that is approximately 20 to 170 meters wide and 3.6 kilometers long.

Until 7,000 years ago, there was not even an original Amanohashidate, but the rising sea level formed a sandbar on the sea floor, and 2,200 years ago, an earthquake caused it to appear above the sea surface.

There were no small islands called kotenkyo (small bridges) until the Edo period (1603-1868), but it is estimated that they were formed in Kusedo (the sea between the Edo and Meiji periods) between the late Edo period and the early Meiji period (1868-1912), giving it its present shape.

In recent years, Amanohashidate has been in danger of shrinking and disappearing due to erosion. To protect it from disappearing, levees have been built at regular intervals to prevent sand from flowing out.
Sand has accumulated on these embankments, giving the eastern part a whitish, jagged shape.

National Treasure “Amanohashidatezu”

Sesshu, an ink painter and Zen monk active in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), visited Amanohashidate around 1501 and painted "The Amanohashidate".
It is in the collection of Kyoto National Museum and is designated as a national treasure.

Although the name of the temple is not mentioned, the existing multi-temple pagoda of Chion-ji Temple and two Jizo Bosatsu (stone Buddha) figures can be seen side by side to the south and one to the north.
In the now reclaimed cove, the Benzaiten Onna-do (female guardian deity), which was moved to the Chion-ji precincts in 1879, is depicted.


Chionji Temple
Official Site
466 Aza-Bunju, Miyazu City, Kyoto
Telephone number
Hours of operation

Parking lot 8:00-17:00
Main hall shop 8:00-17:00

Admission fee

Free admission

Parking lot
100 cars, 700 yen per day

5 min. walk from Amanohashidate Station on the Kyoto Tango Railway Miyatoyo Line

Kyoto Maiduru, Miyadu, Kyotango
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Maiduru, Miyadu, Kyotango