Joruri-ji Temple is just about a 20-minute bus ride from Kintetsu Nara Station. It is the most popular temple in the Minami Yamashiro area, where mountainous surroundings on the boundary between Kyoto and Nara have preserved some charming old temples in tranquility. Yet, it is still not very well-known by overseas visitors.
This temple is the most crowded in autumn, when the precinct is covered with colored autumn leaves, but if you avoid the weekends, even in autumn, you have a chance of meeting nine sitting Buddhist statues lined up in the Main Hall just for you.
Its buildings and statues are mostly over 900 years old. The garden is all natural, untouched and always with some seasonal flowers. You will only hear the birds and water flow from the mountain as you are in the Pure Land.
The layout of the temple grounds is in the style of a Jodo Garden or Pure Land Garden, which was popular in the Heian Period (794-1185). The Three-Story Pagoda stands in the east, where the sun rises (symbolizing birth), and the Main Hall is in the west, where the sun sets (symbolizing death), facing each other over a central pond that represents the ocean between this life and the world beyond.
On spring and autumn equinox days, you can see the sun rising on top of the Three-Story Pagoda and setting in the back of the Main Hall.
The Main Hall and Nine Sitting Statues of Amida Nyorai
Please see the pictures at the Kyoto Yamashiro AREA’s promotion company website:
The Main Hall houses Nine Sitting Statues of Amida. It is said that about 30 locations were built to enshrine a similar nine-statue formation in the Heian Period, but Joruri-ji is the only one left now.
Until about 2023, one or two out of the nine Amida Statues will be sent for renovation. While the center statue is absent, the Dainichi Nyorai Statue normally enshrined in another hall of the temple, not open to the public, will be sitting in the middle of the Main Hall (between July 15, 2020 and June 20, 2021).
The Main Hall, the Nine Sitting Statues of Amida and the Four Heavenly Kings (two of them are displayed in Nara National Museum) are all designated as Japan’s National Treasures.
Three-Story Pagoda and Yakushi Nyorai Statue
Yakushi Nyorai, enshrined in the Three-Story Pagoda, is only open to the public for a limited number of days a year.
Ashibino is a teahouse with an old wooden gate on the approach to Joruri-ji Temple. They serve noodles with local vegetables, tea with many kinds of Japanese sweets, and the best recommended is sweet red bean soup (hot or cold). Not only the taste of their home-made food, but also their old wooden house will make you feel at home.
9:00 to 17:00 (Dec-Feb 10:00-16:00) No closing day
adult : 400 yen
40 Fudaba, Nishio, Kamo cho, Kizugawa city, Kyoto, 619-1135 Japan
* You are always asked to check information on the official website before you visit.
Official site of Kizugawa City(only in Japanese) http://0774.or.jp/temple/jyoruriji.html
The temple is located on the border of Kyoto Prefecture, but in April, May and November, is best approached from Kintetsu Nara Station by Nara Kotsu Bus, bus number 13. It is about 20 minutes bus ride. Normally they have one service per hour. In other seasons, the Kizugawa City Community Bus takes you from JR Kamo Station to Joruri-ji bus stop. It is about 21 minutes bus ride. A timetable of the community bus only in Japanese: http://www.city.kizugawa.lg.jp/index.cfm/6,9011,c,html/9011/20191226-114443.pdf
Get off at Joruri-ji bus stop, and the temple is just a two-minute walk from there.
photos taken on Nov 18, 2019
Last updated on Oct 16, 2020
Text by: Yoko