Risshakuji Temple, known as the Yama-dera, the mountain temple, is built into and on rock ledges on a mountain in Yamagata city. Risshakuji Temple has over one thousand steps leading up to it.
Risshakuji Temple, located in Yamagata city, is one of the most amazing temples in Japan. Generally known as Yamadera Temple (mountain temple), Risshakuji Temple was founded by Monk En-nin (Jikaku Daishi) in 860. The complex is built along a rocky mountain where visitors have to climb up 1015 narrow steps among trees. Some of the buildings were built on a very dangerous cliff, where many monks had a training in the past.
Kaizando is the oldest building in Risshakuji Temple.
The famous Japanese poet Matsuo Basho visited Risshakuji Temple in 1689 and made a famous poem 'Stillness/the cicada's cry/drills into the rocks', which is a part of a diary of his extensive travel through Tohoku area called 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'. Basho's statue is near the entrance of the temple.
The following are some of the buildings in Risshakuji Temple.
Kaizando: the oldest building in the complex.
Shozoin & Chushoin: buildings were used for training for monks.
Okunoin: Located on the highest level of the complex, Okunoin has Buddha statues which Jigaku Daishi took with him during his practice in China.
Daibutsuden: Located next to Okunoin, Daibutsuden holds 5 meter high golden Buddha statue.
Daibutsuden holds 5 meter high golden Buddha statue.
Risshakuji Temple Pictures - Additional pictures of Risshakuji Temple can be seen in our Japan Picture Gallery.
Open: 8am - 5pm, 7 days a week
Admission: 300 yen