Negoro-ji

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Ichijōsan Negoro-ji
根来寺
Negoroji01s3200.jpg
Information
Mountain Name Ichijōsan
Denomination Shingi Shingon
Venerated Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana)
Founded 1130
Founding priest Kakuban
Address 2286 Negoro, Iwade-shi, Wakayama-ken
Country Japan
Website http://www.negoroji.org/

The Negoro-ji (根来寺?) complex of Buddhist temples stands on the side of, and is surrounded by, the sacred peaks of the Katsuragi Mountains which dominate the horizon at the northern end of the city of Iwade, Wakayama in Japan.

In 1087, a man named En no Gyōja established this area as a center for promoting Buddhism. Hōfuku-ji, as it was originally called, was built with the contributions of a devotee known as Hōfuku-Chōja who lived in the vicinity.

In 1132, the Ex-Emperor Toba donated this temple, along with nearby manors, to the famous high priest Kōgyō Daishi; this new estate was called Ichijō-zan Daidenpon Negoro-ji. Kōgyō-Daishi, widely renowned as the restorer of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, moved here with his pupils, from Mount Kōya.

After settling at Negoro-ji, Kōgyō-Daishi laid out his far-sighted plans and initiated the construction of the Enmyō-ji and Jingū-ji within the Negoro-ji temple grounds. Even after his death, in 1143, the Negoro-ji complex was influential and prosperous as the head seminary for Shingi sect of Shingon Buddhism for another 200 years or so. During the height of its influence in the late Muromachi period, about 2700 temples stood on the mountainside in the spacious grounds of Negoro-ji.

In 1585 however, every building except the main pagoda, and a few others, were burnt down during the Siege of Negoro-ji by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who feared the growing military power of the priesthood and the Negoro-gumi, warrior monks of the temple, who were skilled in the use of firearms.

In 1623, the head of the Kii branch of the Tokugawa feudal clan, Tokugawa Yorinobu, initiated the reconstruction of the temple grounds, and through numerous re-buildings over many decades during the Edo period, the Negoro-ji was completely transformed.

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Coordinates: 34°17′13.76″N 135°18′59.96″E / 34.2871556°N 135.3166556°E / 34.2871556; 135.3166556