Kongobuji   金剛峯寺

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Kongobuji Temple

The headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist sect.

Kongobuji Temple

Garden dry Kongobuji temple.

Kongobuji Temple

Kongobuji temple entrance.

Mother House at the foot of the Mount

The most famous temple in Koyasan can boast of having had several lives. An old building marked by man and destroyed many times. But today, Kongobuji shines as a major Shingon Buddhism shrine.

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed. This quote from Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) could have been written for the Kongobuji. This imposing temple ensures the attraction of the religious city of Koyasan . A center where more than a million pilgrims, devotees of Shingon Buddhism, gather to celebrate the memory of Kobo Daishi (774-835) founder of the cult.

Over time, the holy residence was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Built for the first time in 816 by the monk Kukai, also known as the Kobo Daishi, the temple changed appearance in 1131 with the Emperor Toba (1103-1156). The latter allowed the construction of a new monument at the site. Then in 1593 the sanctuary was converted into a mausoleum for the mother of shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598), one of the three unifying the country. It was renamed for the occasion Seijanji.

The height of bad luck in 1863, it burnt down completely before being rebuilt again. In 1868, the temple and the nearby Seiganji Kozanji were unified and renamed Kongobuji. Thus becoming the headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist cult and the head of some 3 600 temples in the community.

The main hall is not accessible to visitors except for major events such as the festival of the winter solstice or April 8, the anniversary of the birth of Sakyamuni, another name for Buddha. However, it is possible to enjoy a lovely sight with works on Fusuma, sliding doors, assigned to the Kano school. Paintings dating from the sixteenth century.

Outside the building, there is also much to see. A garden of stone and sand similar to Ryoanji garden in Kyoto. Established in 1984, the Banryu-tei is the largest in the country with more than 2000 m2. A composition of one hundred and forty blocks of granite depicting two dragons emerging from a sea of ​​clouds to protect the sanctuary.

The botanical garden surrounding the temple also offers a good year-round show, through the seasons. Started in the Edo period (1603-1868), it hosts varieties of flowers and trees of which the  four most emblematic of the archipelago are: Japanese cedar, Hinoki cypress, Japanese red pine and umbrella pine.

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