The mystical torii gate on the lake! Ryusenji Temple, a temple with a spectacular view in Okayama

The mystical torii gate on the lake! Ryusenji Temple, a temple with a spectacular view in Okayamaの画像

Torii gates found on the sea or by lakes, such as those at Itsukushima Shrine and Hakone Shrine, are mysterious. It even exists in Okayama Prefecture! We will introduce you to Ryusenji Temple in Kita Ward , Okayama City .


Ryusenji Temple

Ryusenji Temple, located in Shimoashimori, Kita- Kita Ward , Okayama Prefecture, is said to have been built by Hoon Daishi, who underwent mountain asceticism during the Nara period. It has also been a place of folk worship of the water god and Inari since ancient times. The current buildings, including the temple, and stone walls were constructed in the early Meiji period.

Hydrangeas add color to the moist, rainy scenery, including the temple office, the pine trees, and the slope near the parking lot, which offers a panoramic view of the worship hall.

It's like a Japanese folk tale

The large lake and the vermilion torii gate standing there are like something out of a Japanese folk tale! It is very rare to find a lake so large that it takes nearly 40 minutes to walk around it within the grounds of a temple.

The scenery spreads out before you, making you feel as if you have entered another world.

Large vermilion torii gate

The torii gate may look small in the previous photo, but that's because it's next to a large pond. When you compare it to the people in the photo, you'll see that it's actually this big!

The beautiful song of the Japanese bush warbler echoes off the mountains, making it even more resonant. The calm lake surface ripples slightly, and many swallows occasionally skim the surface to catch food. The water is very clear and beautiful, and small fish and something like shrimp are swimming in the pond.

A vast lake called "Ryuo Pond"

This lake is called "Ryuo Pond." This large pond is the sacred object of worship for the Eight Great Dragon Kings. The Eight Great Dragon Kings are dragon gods and gods of water. They are said to transform into eight different forms in response to people's wishes and save them. They have the power to make it rain, and are gods associated with water, such as for praying for rain, bountiful harvests, and iron refining.

Very cute zodiac statues

Within the shrine grounds, there are cute stone statues of the Chinese zodiac animals. Each animal has its own special blessing, with inscriptions such as "Touching the paw of a brave and strong tiger will give you the power to ward off evil spirits and protect your family."

Everyone has their hands up, so you can high-five the animals!

High-fiving a cow! However, when I looked at the instructions later, I saw that "by touching the cow's udder, which is a source of nutrition, you can gain vitality and energy to live a long and healthy life."

I had touched the wrong place. Many of the zodiac animals have instructions to touch them, but the place to touch and the blessings they bring are different, so please read the explanation on the pedestal before touching them!

A waterfall where you can undergo ascetic practices

This waterfall is called "Saigo no Taki" or "Ryuo no Taki". Surrounded by natural trees, clear water springs out from several places, and after climbing the stone steps you will find many shrines and Inari shrines. The sound of the waterfall and the spray are refreshing and full of energy, making it a true power spot!

Apparently, anyone can also take part in the waterfall training, and if you make a reservation in advance by phone, they will even lend you a training robe.

Ryuo Falls

The Dragon King has a sinuous body that forms an arch and a bold face. The experience of being hit by the waterfall that flows from the dragon will surely be invigorating.

There are small waterfalls in several places, and you can hear the sound of water here and there. In the back, there is a small Inari shrine and a torii gate, and the moss-covered rocks and other beautiful scenery and air are soothing to the soul.

There are lots of statues and shrines in various places, so try and find them all! There's lots to see!

A historic carp rock and narrow path

A large rock called Koiiwa. It resembles the head of a carp. The narrow road beside it is said to have been used by Hideyoshi Hashiba (Toyotomi) when he attacked Takamatsu Castle in Bitchu.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi sat on the rock! "Taikou Sitting Rock"

The narrow path next to Koiiwa was also used by Hideyoshi during his marches. He probably took a rest here during his march.

This "Taiko Sitting Rock" is located near the Ryusenji Temple parking lot.

Substitute Jizo

In the past, there were many robbers and thieves around here who would steal valuables from passersby and travelers along the road, so a substitute Jizo statue was erected to protect the local people. The original Jizo statue that was erected is the one on the far right, surrounded by a fence.

Koiwa Marsh

This is the Koiwa Marsh near Koiwa. The grass was lush and green. There is a boardwalk bridge that leads into the marsh. There is a weight limit, and only three people can ride on it. Ryusenji is also rich in nature, as you can see here, and there are highly poisonous vipers, Japanese snakes, hornets, and ticks. We recommend visiting wearing long sleeves for protection.

(Photo taken in late May 2023) If you look closely, you can see small flowers in bloom. This photo of the tokisou was taken in late May at Koiike Wetland. It is a member of the orchid family. When you think of orchids, you imagine something large, but there are also some that are this small. In mid-August, the sedge orchid blooms.

Statue of Jyogyo Bosatsu and Lucky Cat Jizo

You can pray for your pet's health by touching the palm of the lucky cat Jizo statue. Ryusenji Temple is also attractive for its cute elements, such as the zodiac statues and this maneki-neko (beckoning cat).

Yurahime (Princess Yura)

The character in the upper left corner of the sign is Yurahime, a dragon goddess. She is a character based on Yurahime, one of the eight great dragon kings enshrined at Ryusenji Temple. She is very friendly.

Move it with just one finger?! Yurugi Rock

There are many large rocks in the precincts. One of them is the Yurugiwa Rock. Sansenkan is 11,250 kg. That's 11.25 tons. Can you move such a large rock with just one finger? Let's give it a push.

Will the Yurugiwa rock move?

If you press it with your finger, will it move? I couldn't move it.

If you have supernatural powers, you might be able to move it. Try pressing it with your finger.

Seasonal Flowers

Ryusenji Temple also has a water lily pond. The Dragonfly Pond Marsh is located a little way up from the parking lot. It was the flowering season, and many white water lilies were in bloom. They were pretty and somewhat mystical.

Raindrops dripping from hydrangea

Beautiful, deep blue hydrangea. Hydrangeas are often thought of as pale colors, but these hydrangeas are a deep blue.

Dragon God's Pine

There is also a tree associated with dragons here. A very tall pine tree. It is called the "Dragon God's Pine" because it looks like a dragon rising, and is said to be 250 years old.

Worship hall

Magnificent roof tiles! And gorgeous carvings. Ryusenji Temple enshrines the Eight Great Dragon Kings. The Eight Great Dragon Kings are the gods of water. This photo was taken during the rain showers brought by the Eight Great Dragon Kings.

Main Hall

This is the main hall, located at the back of the worship hall. The principal image is the Supreme Sutra King Bodhisattva. It is open to the public once a year on the first day of the horse month in February.

In addition to the ones we have introduced, there is also Kishimojin shrine and many Jizo statues.

There's plenty to see, including the mysterious Ryuo Pond and torii gates, as well as cute stone statues, so be sure to check it out!

[Mogami Honzan Mitaki Ryusenji Temple]

Address: 900 Shimoashimori, Kita Ward, Okayama City

TEL: 086-295-0130

Click here for details

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