Kaikoji Temple

A temple dedicated to two sokushinbutsu (monks who practice austerity to the point of death and mummification) - the only one to do so in Japan

Kaikoji Temple is dedicated to two of the six sokushinbutsu (monks who practice austerity to the point of death and mummification) in the Shonai region of Yamagata Prefecture. This is the only place in Japan where multiple sokushinbutsu are dedicated in one temple. It is said that Kaikoji Temple was opened by Kobo Dashi Kukai - the founder of the Shingon sect - around 1,200 years ago. The grounds of the temple are home to the main temple building, a sokushinbutsu hall dedicated to the two sokushinbutsu, a bell tower overlooking the city and Awashima Suigetsu Kannon-do to revere the guardian Kannon of women.

What is a sokushinbutsu? This refers to a monk who once personally sacrificed his body and died to save the people suffering from famine and disease and for peace in the world by taking on those worries and concerns. Kaikoji Temple is dedicated to two sokushinbutsu - Chukai Shonin and Enmyokai Shonin. These two saints to whom Kaikoji Temple is dedicated abstained from the five grains (e.g., rice and wheat) in Yudonosan Senninsawa. They then practiced a form of fasting in which they spent their days just eating the fruits of trees growing in the mountains, a discipline in the form of walking through mountain streams and ascetism before finally entering a sense of intense concentration and dying in this land. The two saints will continue to exist as a bridge to prayers and wishes in the future. Please tell just one wish to these saints when you visit.

General Information

Adults: 500 yen
High school students: 300 yen
Elementary and junior high school students: 200 yen
*There is fee for groups
Opening Times
April to October: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

November to March: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Every Tuesday and January 1 to 3
●5 minutes by a Shonai Kotsu bus from JR Sakata Station and then 5 minutes on foot after getting off at Kotobuki-cho
●Approx. 6 minutes by car from JR Sakata Station
●Approx. 15 minutes by car from Sakata Chuo IC on the Nihonkai-Tohoku Expressway
Car Park
*Please use Hiyoriyama Park Parking Lot for large-size cars.
Official Website
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