Culture/History Travel

Kozanji Temple

02/24/2020

Where is Kozanji Temple?

Kozanji Temple which was built during the Kamakura era (1185-1333) as Rinzai school temple is located in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture. There is another Kozanji in Kyoto but it is different from the one in Yamaguchi. In 1557, When Yoshinaga Ouchi, a 16th-century Kyushu warrior who served as the official head of the Ouchi, was defeated by Mori army, the temple was also heavily damaged by the war. However, Hidemoto Mori, who was the first head of the Chofu Domain, rebuilt the Kozanji as a Soto school temple. It became one of the family temples of the Mori family and has the tomb of historical feudal lords of Chofu Domain at the back of the temple.

History of Kozanji

The Butsu-den (“Buddha hall”) was supposedly built in 1327 and one of the oldest Karayo style architecture which is now a designated National Treasure. The temple is also known as the location where Shinsaku Takasugi, a samurai who contributed significantly to the Meiji Restoration, raised his army. In 2016, Shimonoseki City History Museum opened right across from the Kozanji Temple which introduces the history of Shimonoseki, including the end of samurai rule and the Meiji Restoration as a turning point for Japan. The area is definitely a perfect spot to learn about the important part of Japan’s history.

Inside the Kozanji Temple
A bronze statue of Shinsaku Takasugi

How to get to Kozanji Temple?

If you are traveling from Tokyo, then you are most likely flying into the Ube airport where you can rent a car to drive to the temple. It is about 50 minutes from the airport to the temple by car. You can also take Shinkansen and get to Shinshimonoseki Station and take the local line from there.

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