Murouji Temple

Kondo Hall

National Treasure

Situated at the top of Yoroi-zaka (Armor Slope, so named for its resemblance to samurai armor), the Kondo Hall dates to the mid-ninth century, making it one of the oldest structures at Murouji Temple. Its design is somewhat unusual in that it is built in the ‘kake-zukuri’ (overhang method of construction) on masonry terrace. It is roofed with shingles. At inner sanctum of the hall there had been unusual arrangement of Buddhist figures: five large, halo-backed statues with twelve smaller figures in front. But at present there are three large statues and six smaller figures. In the center of the back row is the Shakyamuni Buddha. Toward the left is the statue of Monju (Mañjuśrī means graceful and lovely), the bodhisattva representing the perfection of wisdom. Toward the right is Yakusi Nyorai (Bhaiṣajya-guru means a medical doctor), these date to the Heian period. In the front row stand of six figures of the Twelve Divine Generals, which date to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Those crafted exquisitely lifelike warriors guard the twelve traditional direction. Each bears a Chinese zodiac animal upon its head. The statues of Eleven-faced Kannon and Jizo and the other six Divine Generals are housed in the Treasure Hall March 2020.