Danjōgaran in Mount Kōya, Wakayama prefecture, Japan.

The major Shingon temples in Japan

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Shingon Buddhism (真言宗, Shingon-shū) is one of the major schools of Buddhism in Japan and one of the few surviving Vajrayana lineages in East Asia, originally spread from India to China through traveling monks such as Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra.

Shingon Buddhism emphasizes the use of mantras and mudras (ritual hand gestures) as a means of attaining spiritual enlightenment. These practices are said to activate the “inner wisdom” of the practitioner, allowing them to directly experience the true nature of reality. The ultimate goal of Shingon Buddhism is to achieve a state of “total liberation,” in which the individual is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains a state of perfect enlightenment.

One of the key features of Shingon Buddhism is its use of mandalas, which are geometric diagrams that depict the universe and the various deities within it. These mandalas are used as a tool for meditation and visualization, and are believed to aid the practitioner in attaining a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.

Shingon Buddhism also places a strong emphasis on the role of the master-disciple relationship. The teachings and practices of Shingon Buddhism are transmitted orally from master to disciple, and it is believed that the personal guidance of a qualified teacher is essential for attaining spiritual enlightenment.

In Japan, Shingon Buddhism was first introduced in the 9th century by the monk Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi. It quickly gained popularity and became one of the dominant Buddhist sects in Japan, with many and monasteries built throughout the country. Today, Shingon Buddhism continues to be an important part of Japanese culture and spiritual practice.

This is a list of major Shingon temples in Japan


is a Shingon Buddhist Temple located in Tosa, Kōchi, Japan. It is the 35th temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The Honzon of Kiyotaki-ji is Bhaisajyaguru.


(鑁阿寺) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect in the city of Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, in northern Kantō region of Japan. The honzon of the temple is a statue of Dainichi Nyōrai, leading to the temple’s nickname of Dainichisama,. The temple is built on the ruins of the ancestral fortified residence of the Ashikaga clan who ruled Japan during the Muromachi shogunate, and its grounds are a National Historic Site


(大福寺) is a Buddhist temple in the city of Tateyama in Chiba Prefecture, and is a temple of the Chizen Sect of Shingon Buddhism. According to tradition, the temple was founded by Gyōki in 717 early in the Nara period. It was later revived by a visit by the Tendai Buddhist priest Ennin early in the Heian period. The date at which the temple returned to the Shingon sect is unknown. The temple received a juinjō (朱印状) seal of certification from the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period.

Enmyō-in (圓明院) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Chizan sect located in the city of Kimitsu in Chiba Prefecture. Its honzon, or primary object of veneration, is a statute of Fudō Myōō. A well-known kaya, or Japanese nutmeg-yew tree, of almost 5.4 meters in circumference is located within the temple grounds. A small hall was built at Enmyō-in in 1989 dedicated to prayers for traffic safety.

Gokuraku-ji (Kitakami)

Gokuraki-ji (極楽寺) is a Buddhist temple located in the former Esahi District of what is now the city of Kitakami, in Iwate Prefecture in the far northern Tōhoku region of Japan, located at the base of the 244 metres (801 ft) Mount Kunimi. The temple belongs to the Shingon sect and its main image is a statue of Amida Nyōrai.

Kanpuku-ji (Yamakura – Katori)

Kanpuku-ji (観福寺) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Buzan Sect located in Yamakura, Katori, Chiba Prefecture. The temple is one of two temples in Katori with the same name, the other being Makinosan Kanpuku-ji.

Kongō-ji (金剛寺) is a Buddhist temple in Kawachinagano, Osaka, Japan. It is the head temple of the Shingon Omuro sect. and also known under its mountain-name as Amanosan Kongō-ji . It is the 7th temple on the Shin Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage (新西国三十三箇所) and is notable for the large number of designated cultural properties. The precincts of the temple were designated a National Historic Site of Japan in 1934 with the area under protection expanded in 2011.

Mangan-ji (Setagaya)

Mangan-ji (満願寺) is a Buddhist temple located in the Setagaya Ward of Tokyo, Japan. The temple is also called Todoroki Fudō (等々力不動), after a famous image in one of its chapels. The temple is noteworthy as being the 17th on the Bandō Sanjūroku Fudōson Reijō pilgrimage route of 36 temples in the Kantō region dedicated to Fudō Myōō. The temple currently belongs to the Shingon-shū Chisan-ha school of Japanese Buddhism.


(那古寺) is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Tateyama in southern Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The temple is also called Nago-ji using the alternate pronunciation of the final Chinese character in its name, or the Nago Kannon (古寺観音), after its primary object of worship.


(根来寺) is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Iwade, Wakayama Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. Surrounded by the sacred peaks of the Katsuragi Mountains, the temple grounds were designated as a National Historic Site and a National Place of Scenic Beauty in 2007.


(日石寺) is a Buddhist temple in the town of Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture, Japan. The temple belongs to the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is more popularly known by the name of Ōiwa Fudō (大岩不動) after its main image.

Sado Kokubun-ji

The (佐渡国分寺) is a Shingon sect Buddhist temple located in the city of Sado, Niigata, Japan. Its honzon is Yakushi Nyōrai. It is the successor to the Nara period kokubunji National Temples established by Emperor Shōmu for the purpose of promoting Buddhism as the national religion of Japan and standardising control of the Yamato rule to the provinces. The archaeological site with the ruins of the ancient temple grounds for the provincial temple was designated as a National Historic Site in 1929.


(瀧谷寺) is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Shingon-shū Chizan-ha sect located in the city of Sakai, Fukui, Japan in the Hokuriku region of Japan. Its main image is a statue of Yakushi Nyōrai, which the temple claims was carved by the Nara period shugendō monk Taichō. The temple is noted for its Japanese garden.

Yachū-ji (野中寺) is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Habikino, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, belonging to the Kōyasan Shingon-shū branch of Shingon Buddhism. Its main image is a statue of Yakushi Nyorai. The temple is also popularly known as Naka-no-Taisi (中の太子) as it is located in between the temples of Eifuku-ji and Taiseishōgun-ji, which also claim a connection with Prince Shōtoku. The temple precincts are designated a National Historic Site

One thought on “The major Shingon temples in Japan”

  1. Interesting fact:

    The mystical Vairocana and Vajraśekhara Tantras are expressed in the two main mandalas of Shingon:

    • The Womb Realm mandala
    • The Diamond Realm mandala

    These two mandalas are considered to be a compact expression of the entirety of the Dharma, and form the root of Buddhism.

    In Shingon temples, these two mandalas are always mounted one on each side of the central altar.

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