Banjindo Hall of Hokke-ji Temple
Pay attention to the powerful carvings on the koryo (bridge beam)
The hondo of Hokke-ji Temple is said to have been one of the buildings of Takayama Castle relocated by the third castle lord Kanamori Shigeyori in 1632 out of his compassion for the soul of Kato Mitsumasa, who had been exiled from Kyushu and died in this land.
The building of Banjindo Hall, which is located next to the hondo of Hokke-ji Temple, appears at the front as one ascends the stone-steps after crossing stone taiko-bashi (an arched bridge made of stone) over a pond in the vast garden. Banjindo Hall is built with hip-and-gable roof construction, and has a kara hafu (Chinese styled gable) installed at the front. Inside the hall, enshrined in the zushi (miniature Buddhist shrine) for five statues on the raised floor with a depth of 1 ken (1.82 m), are Koshin-sama (the Buddha of koshin), Inari (the god of harvests), shakamuni-butsu (the eternal life of the Buddha), and kishibojin (the guardian deity of children), as well as a statue of Kato Kiyomasa. This can be considered to be based on the relationship with the kito-den (hall for prayer), which was completed in 1777. With a related document in 1802 stating that the five tutelaries protecting the Lotus Sutra are enshrined in the hall, these five statues are considered to depict the five guardian deities of Hokke Shinto.
Must-see elements of Hokke-ji Temple’s Banjindo Hall, which was also designated as a cultural property of Takayama City, are architectural elements, such as vigorous and powerful carvings on koryo (a type of architectural support) and an upper sculpture of a dragon.