Chohoji Temple in Shimotsu Town in Wakayama Prefecture is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. It is known for the graveyard of the successive lords of the Kishu domain. The Daimon gate, the main hall and the Tahoto pagoda are designated as National Treasures.
This Tahoto is a two-story pagoda with tiled roof. It is presumed to have been built in 1357. On top of the roof is the decorative finial. Fine woodwork is given to every part of the building including the bracket complex under the roof of the lower story and the closely spaced parallel rafters at the eaves of the upper story.
It is said that the lower story is supported by four pillars and an alter housing the statue of Dainichi Nyorai is placed inside the lower level. With a height of 13.4 m, this pagoda is relatively small in size, it is said to be a well-balanced masterpiece, gracefully constructed in the pure Japanese style.
Negoroji Temple in Iwade City in Wakayama Prefecture is a head temple of the Shingi Shingon Buddhism. The Daito pagoda at Negoroji temple was constructed by modeling after the one in Mt. Koya, the headquarters of the Shingon Buddhism. According to the document discovered during the demolition work for renovation, the construction started in 1480, continued for nearly 70 years and completed in 1547. The bullet wound made at the time of the Siege of Negoroji commanded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi can be seen on the surface of the base wood.
A “daito” is a large-sized “tahoto” pagoda with a circular core inside the lower story. The Daito pagoda at Negoroji Temple is designated as a National Treasure as one of a few existing Daito pagodas that escaped war damage. It is an overwhelmingly huge wooden building with a height of 35.1 meter and a width of 15 meters. It is a two-story pagoda with a tiled roof. Seen from outside, the lower story looks square but the inside is a circular sanctuary surrounded with twelve pillars.
Tahoto is a two-storied pagoda composed of a square lower story and a cylindrical upper story. Usually, a finial is erected atop the roof.
The Tahoto pagoda of Akaibo Temple is located in the precinct of Hanaoka Hachimangu Shrine next to Akaibo Temple because Akaibo used to be one of the nine attached temples of the shrine. It is said that the pagoda was erected at the site where one of the 16 pagodas that had been erected by Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-669) in the Asuka period used to have been located. The present pagoda is presumed to be constructed in the late Muromachi period because a wooden plate with the year 1560 written in Japanese ink on it was discovered when it was demolished for renovation in 1928.
The elaborate woodwork has been preserved in its original form. The bracket complex under the upper roof is especially beautiful. The Kokera-buki (thin wooden shingles) roof is largely-cambered. With a total height of 13.5 meters, the upper story is relatively tall, compared to other tahoto pagodas.
Shakuninji Temple located in Higashiomi City in Shiga Prefecture is a historic temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship is Nyoirin Kannon. It is the 19th Holy Place of Gamo Kannon Pilgrimage. This temple and adjacent Yamabe Shrine are pertaining to Yamanobe no Akahito, a poet of the Manyoshu, who is noted as one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals. It is said that Shakuninji Temple is where Akahito spent his last days.
The biography of Yamanobe no Akahito is unknown, but it is said that he spent most of his life traveling all around present Kansai district. The temple is said to have been founded by Yamanobe no Akahito himself to enshrine Nyoirin Kannon that he brought from Tagonoura.
In the precinct stands a cherry tree named Akahito Cherry, or also called “Kanmurikake-no-sakura (Cap Hanger Cherry).” Legend has it that when Akahito hung his cap on a branch of this cherry tree, it was never removed; thereby he decided to live at this place. The seven-story stone pagoda constructed in the Kamakura period (1192-1333) is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property.
Ishiyamadera Temple in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, is the Bakkaku-Honzan (extra-status cathedral) of the Toji Shingon sect. The principal object of worship is Nyoirin Kannon. It is the 31st Holy Place of Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, the 1st of Goshu 33 Kannon Pilgrimage and the 3rd of Omi Kannon Pilgrimage.
The temple was founded in 747 by the priest Roben under the order of Emperor Shomu. Together with Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto and Hasedera Temple in Nara, it is one of the few magnificent temples in Japan.
Tahoto pagoda at this temple was constructed in 1194. It is the oldest of all the Tahoto pagodas whose construction years are identified. It is a 17.2 m tall pagoda with a Japanese cypress-bark roof. Surrounded by the railings with Giboshi (onion-shaped metal decorations), it has the wooden paneled doors in the center, on both sides of which are lath windows. The struts placed in the spaces between pillars are simple short posts.
The beautiful curved roof line and well-balance and stable building design are in good harmony. As a masterpiece of the ancient architecture in Japan, it is designated as a National treasure.
The pagoda houses the statue of Dainichi Nyorai carved by Kaikei, the master Buddhist sculptor in the Kamakura period.
Kongozanmaiin Temple in Mt. Koya in Wakayama Prefecture is the Bakkaku-Honzan (extra-status cathedral) of the Shingon sect. The principal object of worship is Aizen Myoo. It is the 11th of the 18 Holy Places of Butto-koji (Old Temples with Pagodas) and the 17th Holy Place of Saigoku Aizen Myoo Pilgrimage. .
The temple was founded in 1211 as Zenjoin Temple by the plea of Hojo Masako to hold memorial services for her husband, Minamoto no Yoritomo. In 1223, when Masako died with the Buddhist name of Zenjo Nyojitsu, the temple changed its name to the present name.
Tahoto pagoda was constructed by the order of Masako and under the supervision of the Zen monk Kakuchi. It is a 14.9 m tall pagoda with Japanese cypress-bark roof. The first story is not very tall and the second story has the stability. It is the second oldest Tahoto pagoda and counted as one of the three finest Tahoto pagodas in Japan. It is designated as a National Treasure.
The pagoda houses the statue of Gochi Nyorai, which is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.
Mizusawadera, or popularly called Mizusawa Kannon (Mizusawa, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture) is a historic temple of the Tendai sect. It is the 16th temple of Bando Pilgrimage to the 33 Holy Places of Kannon. The principal object of worship is Juichimen Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon with 11 faces and 1,000 arms).
It is said that the temple was founded about 1,300 years ago by Priest Ekan from Goguryeo under the order of Empress Suiko and Emperor Jito and built by Takamitsu Chujo, the provincial governor. According to the temple record, it used to be a magnificent temple enshrining as many as 1,200 images of Buddha housed in more than 33 temple halls including the halls of Kon-do, Ko-do, Jogyo-do and Kanjo-do, the sutra library,, the bell tower and the Tahoto pagoda.
Rokkaku-do (the Hexagon Hall) constructed in the Genroku era (1688-1703) is a two-story pagoda that has a very unique structure, where the 6 images of Jizo Bosatsu are placed on the rotating platform.
The statues of Shaka Triad and other precious statues and paintings are displayed and open to the public in Shaka-do (the Shakamuni Hall), which was constructed in 2001.
Sanmyoji Temple is said to have been established at the beginning of the 8th century. Its principal image worshipped at the main hall is Benzaiten (the goddess Saraswati). During the period of the Genpei Wars (1180-1185), a priest at this temple, Mochizuki Chugen, fought with Minamoto no Noriyori’s forces and was defeated. When Noriyori became a lord of Mikawa province later, he ordered one of his retainers, Kawai Goro, to burn the temple down, from which the temple was destroyed. The temple was restored by a Zen monk Mumon, a son of Emperor Godaigo, in the 14th century. The 15 m three-story pagoda built in 1531 is well-known for its beautiful shape. It is an eclectic-styled building; the 1st and 2nd floors are built in Japanese style, while the 3rd floor in Chinese style. As architectural styles in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) varied form region to region, the pagoda is a precious building structure to know the architecture in the late Muromachi period. The pagoda and Guden Hall (the main hall) are designated as National Important Cultural Properties.