Check Out Rurikoji Temple's Beautiful Pagoda

Aug 28 2020
Aug 28 2020

What are pagodas in Japan? This article introduces basic information on pagodas in Japan, along with one of the three best pagodas in the country, Rurikoji Temple’s Pagoda. Check out pictures and video clips of one of Japan’s most beautiful pagodas.

What are Pagodas in Japan?

Rurikoji Temple’s Pagoda

Pagodas in Japan are tall tower-like Buddhist structures with multiple roofs, usually found in Japanese gardens. Pagodas in Japan can be historically traced back to dome-shaped Indian stupas, which were used to enshrine Buddha’s ashes. When Buddhism spread to China, the round structure evolved into a pagoda. It then spread to Korea and then to Japan.

Over time, pagodas in Japan evolved in its original way. Instead of enshrining Buddhist ashes, they preserve the temple’s treasures (like ancient Buddhist scriptures) inside. The majority has five roofs with each level representing one of five main elements; earth (lowest level), water, fire, wind and sky/void (top level). Most are made out of wood to withstand big earthquakes. For the same reason, most were constructed without the use of nails; the wood pieces are carefully cut to fit into other wood pieces like a puzzle.In most cases you can’t go inside. Although it may seem like it has five floors, it actually only has one floor with no stairs inside. It is a piece of architecture that people enjoy from many different angles from the outside. Since they are usually located inside of gardens, pagodas normally stand beautifully in the middle of lush rich nature.

In Japan, there are over 80 five-storey pagodas. At 180 ft (55 m), the tallest one is the Toji Pagoda located in Kyoto prefecture, which is also the tallest wooden structure in Japan. Also known to be the world’s oldest wooden architecture is Horyuji’s pagoda in Nara prefecture. Of the 11 Japanese pagodas that are designated as national treasure, perhaps one of the most beautiful is the Ruruikoji temple’s pagoda in Yamaguchi prefecture.

Rurikoji Temple’s Pagoda In Yamaguchi Prefecture

Rurikoji Temple Ouchi Yoshihiro

Rurikoji Temple’s pagoda is located inside Rurikoji temple’s grounds, more commonly called Kozan park. Not only does the park contain Rurikoji temple’s pagoda, it also contains Rurikoji temple, a museum, a graveyard, other buildings and lots of nature.

Built in 1442, Rurikoji Temple’s pagoda is the 10th oldest pagoda in Japan. It was built to memorialize the spirit of Ouchi Yoshihiro, a grand military leader. At 102 ft (31.2 m) the pagoda is not among the tallest in the country, but it is considered to be one of the three best pagodas in Japan along with Daigoji Temple’s pagoda in Kyoto prefecture and Horyuji Temple’s pagoda in Nara prefecture.

It’s beautiful any time of the year. Pictures speak louder than words; see below for Rurikoji Temple’s pagoda in all four seasons:

In some winter days, snow softly decorates all five roofs of the pagoda, turning it into a magical and romantic scene. Even if snow makes transportation uneasy, a snow-capped pagoda is definitely worth a visit.!

In spring, it’s actually a famous spot for cherry-blossom viewing. In summer, green leaves take over. It’s almost as if the surrounding trees are protecting the pagoda.

The pagoda and autumn foliage combined is also breathtaking. Autumn-foliage viewing is a popular pastime for many Japanese and is also known as the season for sports. Many visitors walk around and enjoy the fresh air this season.

Night pagoda has a different face, with its bright illumination against the pitch-black sky, and its shining reflection in the pond. The pagoda is lit up until 10 PM every night.

Enjoy All Aspects Of Rurikoji Temple And Its Pagoda

Take your time and enjoy seeing Rurikoji Temple’s pagoda from different angles. Take your time to enjoy the season’s nature. No need to rush here, the beautiful national treasure is open to everyone all day and night.


Rurikoji Temple
Fly from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Yamaguchi Ube airport (1 hour 45 min). Take a limousine bus from Yamaguchi Ube airport to Shin-Yamaguchi station (about 30 min). From Shin-Yamaguchi station take the JR Yamaguchi line bound for Yamaguchi, and get off at Yuta Onsen station (about 20 min). From Yuta Onsen station, take a bus bound for Yamaguchi Daigaku or Nakaoguchi to Yamaguchi Kenchomae stop (about 15 min). Ruruikoji Temple is a 10-min walk from Kenchomae bus stop.

Address: 7-1 Kozancho, Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi prefecture 752-0081
Tel: +81-83-922-2409
Admission: Free (pagoda museum is ¥200)
Open Hours: Park is open all day and night (pagoda museum is open from 9 AM to 5 PM, pagoda’s illumination ends at 10 PM)

Rurikoji Temple Yamaguchi

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