Translated by Andrew J Tinkler
The Famous Five-Storied Pagoda Of Ruriko Temple In Yamaguchi
Written by Ai Yoneda
Ruriko Temple's five-storied pagoda in Yamaguchi prefecture is one of Japan's three most famous pagodas. This pagoda is the perfect place to enjoy Japanese history and tradition.
This five-storied pagoda and its beautiful architecture, not only grabs the hearts of Japanese people but also the hearts of those who travel to Japan.
Did you know that among all the pagodas in Japan there is something called the “Three Most Famous Pagodas of Japan”? These are considered to be the most spectacular!
These pagodas are located at Daigo Temple in Kyoto, Horyu Temple in Nara and, of course, Ruriko Temple in Yamaguchi.
This time we are going to introduce the impressive Ruriko Temple’s five-storied pagoda, which is beautifully surrounded by a number of mountains and ponds.
The Five-storied Pagoda
Ruriko Temple’s five-storied pagoda was built in 1442. Using skilled architectural techniques from the middle of the Muromachi (*1) period, it is hailed as the masterpiece of the Ouchi culture blooming at the center of Yamaguchi.
The roof was built using the unique Japanese method of utilizing the bark of the cypress tree, known as hiwadabuki. Through the use of this method, the roof was given a more profound feeling compared to other techniques.
The workings done on the body of the pagoda can clearly be seen which is one aspect that separates it from the Daigo and Horyu Temples’ pagodas.
*1 The Muromachi period lasted from 1338 to 1573. Muromachi is a place located in Kyoto Prefecture.
As you look closely at the artwork, you’ll be captivated by its impressive quality and beautiful symmetry. Although the pagoda stands at only 31.2 meters tall, you’ll feel that it stands much higher.
To the side of the pagoda is the Ruriko Temple’s main building. This building is also known for being a model of the Ouchi culture.
The grounds of the temple are called Kozan Park. In the spring, cherry and plum blossoms bloom throughout.
Also within the grounds is a Mizukake Jizo.
As an enlightened follower of Buddhism, Jizō helps others reach Paradise by finding peace in their own lives.
It is said that when you pour water and make a wish, that wish will come true.
Things like “health” and “marriage” are written on the ladles so choose which wish you would like to have granted by scooping up water with that ladle, pouring it onto the Jizo and praying silently.
The five-storied pagoda is a building of both of dignity and quality. With the view of the surrounding mountains and the pond at your feet, the beauty of the pagoda will manifest itself. If you are able to enjoy it during the cherry blossoms in spring or the colorful leaves of fall, it will leave you speechless.
At night, you’ll be able to see the pagoda illuminated, giving you a completely different feel from when seeing it in the daytime.
So for those of you wishing to see unique, Japanese architecture in Yamaguchi, make your way to Ruriko Temple’s five-storied pagoda!