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妙立寺(忍者寺) Myoryuji - Ninja Temple

  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
  • Around Kanazawa
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  • ClosedNew Year Holidays, Memorial service day

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Maps are rarely carried out with accessing from mainland China.

Around Kanazawa
1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa 921-8031, Japan
  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
Opening Hours
Reservation system 9:00-16:30, [November-February] 9:00-16:00
New Year Holidays, Memorial service day
Date of post:2015/07/28

Tricky but elegant temple

  • Temple / Shrine

Myoryuji is a temple of the Nichiren school of Buddhism.In 1643, a feudal lord of the Kaga domain, Toshitsune MAEDA, ordered to found it.
Regardless of classes or religious schools, many people as well as successive feudal lords visited this temple as a place of prayer.

This temple really has nothing to do with ninjas historically but if you are really interested in ninjas, you should also check the ninja museum of Igaryu in the Mie prefecture where you can see and experience ninja performances.

However, this temple has a lot of tricky devices like in a ninja house which is why it is called ninja temple.

When Myoryuji was built, the feudal lord of this region, Toshitsune MAEDA was still kept under surveillance by the Tokugawa shogunate because the MAEDA clan of the Kaga domain was an enemy of the Tokugawa side, before the Edo period was started by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603.
In the historical situation, Buddhist temples as well as Kanazawa castle were still prepared as emergency strongholds.

Myoryuji looks like a two story building because in those days, more than three story buildings were prohibited. But, if we go into Myoryuji, you will find that it is a four story building divided in to 7 layers. And, there are 23 rooms and staircases which make a total of 29 steps in a small temple.
In addition, there is an offertory box embedded on a floor, an observation deck, stairs which have traditional doors to get light for security and attack, secret stairs, secret rooms and many other tricky devices.

And, the tricky structure was also created for a religious reason.
MAEDA lords often visited and prayed at this temple if bad things happened. But, back then, ordinary people and a feudal lord couldn't pray on the same floor. And, the lord did not want to disturb ordinary people's prayers for his sudden visit so a secret room was also created.

Elegant designs and excellent craftsmanship can also be seen in many parts of this temple.

This temple is very complicated so it is better to enter with a guide.
Photos are also prohibited in the temple.

This is a very rare temple full of highlights.

Date of post:2015/07/03

Get lost in a fabulous temple called Ninja temple

  • Temple / Shrine

Myoryu-ji is a Nichiren sect's temple, which is one of the Buddhist sect in Japan. Although the exterior of the temple is just an ordinary temple like others, in fact, the temple is renowned for its uniqueness.

Myoryu-ji is the official name, but most people don't know the name even the local people. Normally the temple is called "Ninja-dera" (Ninja temple) because many traps and gimmicks are hidden inside like a ninja house.

Why and how was such a remarkable temple built? Who built it?

Before answering these questions, let me explain a little about my hometown, Kanazawa. Kanazawa was a Kaga domain castle town during the Edo period (1603-1868) founded by the Maeda clan. The domain was the second richest in the nation next to Tokugawa clan and that is why Kaga was monitored for signs of a rebellion against Tokugawa by the shogunate.

Myoryu-ji aka Ninja-dera was built in 1643 by Toshitsune Maeda, a feudal lord's command in Kanazawa as an outer citadel to guard the town in case the Tokugawa shogunate would make an attack.

So the truth is, the temple is not related to Ninja at all.

In spite of the exterior that looks like a two-story building, actually it is four-tiered seven-layer structure. There are 29 stairs and 23 rooms, and they are tangled by cleverly-secreted doors and corridors like a maze!

It is an extremely unusual temple, isn't it? Nevertheless, it's not a theme park but a historic temple so please make sure you follow the rules.

Unfortunately there is no English speaking guide or audio guide, offering only the explanatory leaflet about the temple. So, I recommend you should request a voluntary English speaking sightseeing guide ( if you want to understand in details.

Address: 1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa 921-8639
Tel: +81 (0)76 241 0888

Opening hours
9:00 - 16:30 (Winter season 9:00 - 16:00)
Closed 1 January and Buddhist memorial service day

Adults (12+ years) ¥800 / Children (6-11 years) ¥600
Children preschool age and younger are not allowed seeing inside.

Getting there
By bus
- Regular bus: About 15 min from the Kenroku-en exit bus terminal at Kanazawa station. Get off at "Hirokoji".
- Joka-machi Kanazawa Syuyu bus that geso around the left course (Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus): About 15 min from the Kenroku-en exit bus terminal at Kanazawa station. Get off at "Hirokoji".

By taxi
About 10 min from Kanazawa station.

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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