Ryugeji temple – 龍華寺
A temple with a spectacular view of Mount Fuji and featuring a national natural treasure tree !
The temple was established in early Edo period, in 1670, by the priest Nichigon who was closely related to Ieyasu Tokugawa.
This temple is of Nichiren Buddhism branch. It is located at the foot of Mount Udo, in Shimizu district of Shizuoka city.
Famous for the amazing view of Mount Fuji, here rests an intellectual of the Meiji period : Chogyu TAKAYAMA.
The soshidô, where you can find 220 ceiling paintings, is really worth a visit. There are paintings of Buddhas, flowers, dragons, and much more. This is a recent building, erected in 2003. The paintings were donations, all painted by the artist Masaharu OGURA.
The hondô -or main hall- with its kayabuki roof. This quaint thatched roof is modeled on Mount Fuji’s form.
The priest Nichigon was the nephew of Oman -お万の方-, who was the concubine of Ieyasu Tokugawa and a very devoted person.
Lord Ieyasu Tokugawa was one of the unifier of Japan during the Sengoku period. He established the Tokugawa shogunate -a period of peace- which lasted for more than 250 years !
Oman is the mother of Ieyasu’s 10th and 11th sons : Yorinobu and Yorifusa. She was devoted to Nichiren buddhism, and so she was very supportive of her nephew Nichigon in his activities and in the conception of the Ryugeji temple.
Ryugeji and the Mount Fuji
The scenery of Mount Fuji from the eastern foot of Mount Udo is one of Japan’s most representative landscape of the sacred mountain, along with the scenery of Mount Fuji from Miho‘s pine tree grove. Miho is now a part of the World Cultural Heritage. Both locations are not far from each other.
In the precincts of Ryugeji temple, the main hall is located in the center and next to it is the shumisen-style garden : the kampuen garden. On the picture below, imagine that the roof of the house in the back is the Mount Fuji, the small mountain is the Mount Udo and the pond in front is the Suruga Bay.
The garden can be observed from the main hall, called hondô.
The temple is also known for its sotetsu tree, a cycas certified as a national natural treasure.
A 300 years old cactus can be seen near the cycas. This cactus O-saboten was certified by the prefecture as a natural treasure as well.
An old oak is the spiritual spot of the Ryugeji temple.
Why not enjoy a nice stroll in the various gardens in the precincts of Ryugeji.
Chogyu Takayama (1871-1902) was an intellectual : a thinker and literary critic representing the Meiji era. One of his famous historical novel is “Takiguchi Nyūdō”.
He stayed in Okitsu in Shizuoka for medical treatment in his last years. He then visited various temples among which the Ryugeji. Moved by the view, he wished to be buried at this place.
Later, a monument was erected in his honor : his bust looking in the direction of Mount Fuji.
You can also visit the Chogyu Pavilion. In there, are exposed various letters and manuscript of Chogyu himself, as well as Nichiren buddhism related archives.
You can get more information from our blog posts below.
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For French speaking people, you can read our blog post about the Ryugeji temple in french as well :
Visit the blog post in French
To the website of Ryugeji temple (Japanese only)