Jun 2024 02
Kawaraya Zenji Temple

Kawaraya Zenji Temple | A mysterious village deep in the mountains.
An ancient temple connected to Prince Shotoku that watches over Higashi-Omi.

瓦屋禅寺 | 山深き幽玄の里。

A hill overlooking the East-Omi area. The water source of this mountain is connected to the blessings of Lake Biwa. At the end of the approximately 1,000 stone steps of Omotesando is a magnificent reed-thatched roof that overwhelms those who see it.

It is said that the name Kawarayazen-ji Temple was given by Prince Shotoku. It is said that Prince Shotoku had 106,000 tiles made using soil from the mountains, and these tiles were used when constructing Shitennoji Temple in Settsu.



The reed roof was chosen because it is located near Lake Biwa and in an area with heavy snowfall. The roof has been completely reroofed every 60 years, and has been carefully preserved by people.


In ancient times, It was built by the order of Prince Shotoku and later , it flourished as a branch temple of Todai-ji Temple, and there was also a Tendai sect era as it was connected to Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei, but unfortunately the entire hall was destroyed in a fire by Oda Nobunaga in the Eiroku era. For the next 80 years, it fell into disrepair, giving a sense of the impermanence of the world, but in the early Edo period Kawara Zenji was rebuilt as a temple of the Myoshinji sect of the Rinzai sect.


According to temple legend, the eleven-faced, thousand-armed, thousand-eyed Kanzeon Bodhisattva standing statue, the four statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, and the seated Jizo Bodhisattva statue in the center of the main hall were created by Prince Shotoku. It is a precious treasure.
Four statues of the Four Heavenly Kings created by Prince Shotoku are placed on all sides to protect the Thousand-Eyed Kannon statue.


Statues of the two priests who founded Kawara Zenji Temple. Those bodies were carefully repaired in 2020, and have maintained their beautiful appearance.


Inside the Jizo-do Hall, which is said to be the oldest building in Kawara Zenji Temple. In ancient times, it played a central role as the former main hall. In winter, even the water in the vase freezes, allowing soft sunlight to shine into the chilly interior.


Enshrined in front is a statue of Jizo Bodhisattva, said to have been created by Prince Shotoku. It is called the child-rearing Jizo, and is said to relieve people of the pain of having an easy childbirth.


The walls are lined with thirty-three cypress board paintings depicting the incarnation of Kannon Bodhisattva. The image of God saving people is full of dynamism and gives off vivid colors.


When I looked up, I saw a ferocious cloud dragon on the ceiling. It has been passed down as a valuable temple treasure from the early Edo period, along with the 33 cypress board paintings.


Jizo-do Hall was previously a building with a four-sided reed-thatched roof, just like the current main hall. It is said that due to extensive repairs carried out in 1896, it became the current gabled roof with tiles.

以前は現本堂と同じくヨシ葺きの四方屋根の建造物であった地蔵堂。明治 14年に行われた大々的修繕により、現在の切妻造の桟瓦葺となったという。

A view of the mountain village overlooking the Mother Kannon from a hill filled with a divine atmosphere.
Kawara Zenji Temple has survived many ruins, and has been restored and preserved through the changing times. I hope that it will be passed down with care as a presence that watches over the people of Omi.


about this venue

Kawaraya Zenji Temple

Location: 436 Takebe Kawarayajicho, Higashiomi City
Phone number: 0748-22-1065