Visiting explanation fo chief priest



The National Treasure Koukouzan Zuiryuji was built over 18 years by Toshitune,the 3rd head of the Kaga clan, to mourn the 2ndhead of the Kaga clan,Toshinaga Maeda.

宗派は禅宗の曹洞宗です。Zuiryuji is belonging to the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism.


The Maeda family was originally from Owari, now Nagoya , where Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi were grown up.


The 1st head Toshiie Maeda was dispatched to Echizen, nowTakefu in Fukui,to suppress the Hokuriku Ikkou sect religious riot on Nobunaga’s command.
At that time, Toshiielearned Zen meditation from Daito Keijo Osyo,the priest of the Soto sect, and protected the Soto sect which was a rival sect of the ikkou sect.

The first gate of Zuiryuji is Somon gate, the main gate, which is designed as a Yakui-mon
style like gate of castle or a samurai residence.
Almost the same gate painted red is the main gate of the University of tokyo
located in Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo.
The site of the University of Tokyo was originally the residennse of the Kaga clan.
The Maeda family had received a wivesfrom the Tokugawa family for generations.It is said that this is the reason to paint the gate red to show the fact.


The Kaga clan is the biggest outsider Daimyo,and havingrice yield, 1.2 million koku than any otherFudai Daimyo.



Therefore, the Kaga clan was always watched by the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Wives for generations from Tokugawa family lived in Kanazawa, the capital of the Kaga clan, meny spiesfrom Tokugawa Syogunate were so active.Therefore, Maeda family made Kanazawa as a cultural town not to be suspected of treason.

また武家として強さだけでなく、経済に力をいれる姿勢に対して、文化人、経済人からも一目を置かれたのです。Therefore people acknowledged Maeda family,their actives, not only the militarypower as a samurai family, also focused on its cultural development and economy strength.
As a result they made Etchu, away from Kanazawa military and industrial district.

また、豊富な雪解け水によって富山平野の扇状地には広大な穀倉地帯が広がり、財政面でも加賀120万石のうち越中は62万石をしめ越中は加賀藩のドル箱でした。                Etchu had abundant snow bmelt water to make the great gain belts spread in the alluvial fan in the Toyama plain Since this grain belts produced 620 thousand Koku of rice yield which is about 50 percent in1.2million Koku of whole Kaga Clan rise yield Etchu was so called"a source of big profit"瑞龍寺のある高岡から南側は加賀藩の穀倉地帯でしたが、山奥には五箇山の合掌集落があり、黒色火薬の原料である煙硝(硝酸カリウム)を生産していました。その質は日本一でした。
Regarding the economic background of Kaga Clan, first the south area of Takaoka was one of the largest grain belts of the Kaga Clan. As a second, in the theGassyo-style houses village,the World Heritage,of deep Gokayama mountains area, they producedpotassium nitrate which is one of rawmaterials for gunpowder havingthe best quality in Japan.

Futhermore, in the east part of Etchu, there were many gold,silver and leadmines at the foot the3000-meter-class Tateyama mountain range.
At that time, lead was the essential matarial to refine gold and silver,called Haifuki method.鉛は、金や銀砲丸・白粉などにも利用されました。Lead was also used in the refinining of gold and slver,and in bullet powder.           なわち鉛は加賀藩の財政・産業を支える重要な鉱山遺跡だったのです。            These mines were important material that supported the Kaga Clan economy.

Regarding lead mine in Etchu, there was Nagato lead mine in Ikenoyama on the border of
Gifu Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture.

In1644 to 1666, the price of lead plummeted Around that time, Zuiryuji thatched the roof of Butsuden with a lead.

In Meiji period, Mitsui Mining Co.Ltd. operated the mine in Kamioka, but the mine was already closed due to cadmium pollution.
Now we established the Neutrino reseach site at this 1000meters deep mine in Ikenoyama, called Super-Kamiokande,managed bythe University of Tokyo.

Due to the One Castle Ordinance, the Maeda Clan had to abandon Takaoka castle.In order to save one castle in Etchu they divided thier territory and establish the new territory inToyama area to keep one castle in Etchu.
It is said that Zuiryuji was built instead of Takaoka casle.


Zuiryuji is arranged in seven Garans that resemble the human body,
And Garans areconenected by corridors.※garan: building enshring Buddha in temple
On both sides of the Sanmongate, the corridor stretched out and the bathroom and toilet would have protruded in front, but they were burned down 250 years ago.

The Sanmon-gate is 18meters high, like a 5 stories building, and the crowned buddha and 16 arhats are enshrined in this tower, and Kongorikishi statues theguard the world of buddha, stand on both sides of this gate.


If when you stand on the gray stone pavement in front of this gate, the entrance become aborrow scenery, and Buddhist hall is cut out.


The framed plaque on the thisgate, written a part of temple name "Koukouzan",was written by Obaku Ingen,who is the famous priest migrated from CHina, and influenced to Japanese culture and technologies.
Zuiryuji is belonging to the Soto sect, and Ingen belongs to the Obaku sect.
Both are in Zen Buddhism,but the essentially different sects.
禅宗の僧侶は可能であれば、栄西禅師や道元禅師のように中国へ渡り、本場の禅を学びたかったが、鎖国で幕府が渡航を禁止していましたBefore Tokugawa shogunnate,Zen Buddhist monks,like Eisai and Dogen Zenji, were allowed totravel to China to learn the authentic Zen Buddhism, however they were not permitted under the National isolation Policy, called Sakoku,by Shogunate.
Therefore they expected to welcome the exiled priest from China and Obaku Ingen is the person who to arrived to Japan with the help of overseas and Rinzai priests.
Moreover, the items that Ingen brought had a great influence on Japan.
有名なのはインゲン豆 普茶料理ですが、僧侶の垂涎の的だったのは行事規範やお経の本でした。
The most famous things he brought with him were kidney beans and fuchsia dishes,but what the monks coveted were the rules of conduct and sutras
In particular, the book of sutras was printed in woodblocks in Osaka by a monk named Tetsugen, and it was sold domestically as a general-purpose edition in japan.

At that time, the shogunate had just started the Terauke system, the prototype of family register system.
The monks who used to make pilgrimages to various places ,settled in vacant temples in villaeges,and issued temple approval certificates, and thus temples began to act as a government offices.
This is the reason why the word "jusyoku" was born:"juu"means live and settle in the temple.
"syoku"means "job or work"                               しかし、曹洞宗に黄檗系の僧侶が入りこみ相当曹洞宗が黄檗に乗っ取られる
However there was a possibility that the Soto sect would be taken over by the Obaku sect , so they gradually became estaranged.
The corridor of Zuiryuji is about 95meters long and 59meters
wide, and the ratio is almost the golden ratio.


仏 殿

The Buddha Hall designeted as a National Treasure enshrines the principal image of Buddha, ShakaNyorai.


The red grain of Japanese Zelkova is used for the wall behind the principal image,and the grains of the wood were designed to image a cloud in the evening.


The principal image is facing to east. and behind of the principal image must be west Buddhism was founded in india, we call Tenjiku in old time. and spread to Japan through China and Korea. Therefore west is religiously quite meaningful direction.

Butsuden was built in Zen Buddhism style using entirely Japanese Zelkova. The upper rafters are Chinese-style radial manner, the lower rafters are parallel design, an ancient Japanese method.

For main pillars of the Buddha Hall, 600 years old japanese Zelkova from Noto area was used.

The Japanese Zelkova is a broad-leaved tree that branches quickly, and will make crack or wither easily when they have not treated properly for certain amount time.
Thus, so beautiful grain of Zelkova meets to Japanese aesthetic sense and value is high so that the value is acceptable even for the expertized people.
This Successful building is realized throught a result of combination of the properties of wood.


The Japanese have been maintained forests: they cut them down then plant trees to secure the timber they need in future.
Tree in the mountains absorbs carbon dioxide through photo synthesis,
which prevent global warming.
Nitrogren, phosphorus and potassium from the fourest flow into the rever
together with the soil.
The water irrigate the paddy fields, resulting in beautiful harvest, it flows into the sea to increase phytoplankton,which feeds on the fish that grow and lead to a bountiful catch.

The recycling idea such as recycle, reuse, reduce between nature and human being has been cultivated in Japan in many years. Today such idea is popular all over the worldand it is in line with the SDGs

法 堂

The building at the far end of Zuiryuji is the Hatto.
部屋は6つに仕切られています。                             Hattois divided into 6 sections.
In the transom,Ranma, of the front inner sanctuary, a phoenix and paulownia are carved which were referred from the ancient Chinese literature. The name of Takaoka was also referred from the same literature.
A huge mortuary tablet of lord Tosinaga Maeda is enshrined in the center of the inner sanctuary of the Hatto.
His post humous name is Zuiryu-inden Syouzan Eiken Daikoji.

The size of the mortuary tablet is about 210cm high.
Japanese Buddhism considers their ancestors to be object of worship, but in this case, ,it makes more sense to think of them as objects of worship rather than memorial services .

Why did Toshitsune want to enshrine Toshinaga in that way?
Toshinaga married Eihime, fourth daughter of Nobunaga Oda.
But no heir was born.
Toshituune was born to Toshiie and his concubine Chiyo.Therefore Toshitsunewas not in a position to succeed the Kaga domain.However,Toshinaga chose thim as the 3rd Head Toshitune may be sincerely wanted to repay Toshinaga’sFavor. This may be one of the reasons.
However, there might be another reason for Tositsune’s reverence for Toshinaga.
The Maeda family of the Kaga clan is said to be a descendant of Sugawara no Michizane。
Michizane rose to the higher political rank Udaijin (Minister of the Right), but he infuriated the influential Fujiwara Clan through the political discussions, so that Michizane was demoted to Dazaifu now Fukuoka,andeventuallydiedthere.

Toshinaga passed away six months before the Winter Siege in Osaka
After Toshiie died, Toshinaga suspected of rebellion by the Ieyasu Tokugawa.
Toshinagatook Toshiie’s lawful wife Matsu as a hostage, retired and moved to Takaoka,
Where he died. 53years old.

利常には利長と道真の生涯に似通った定めを感じたのかもしれません。Toshitune might feel asimilar fate of the life between Toshitune and Michizane.

As a general accustom from ancient times in Japan , when people died unnaturally,they enshrinede the persons as asprit after the certain memorial service(unfortunate person) .


Supposed Toshitune's real intention to enshrine Tosinaga as the protective god of Takaoka,Zuiryuji could be a shrine rather than temple.


However,Ieyasu Tokugawa was already enshurined as god at Nikko Toshogu Shrine, it might be difficult for other daimyo to enshrine in the same way. therefore, the Maeda family enshrined the Toshinaga in temple, This may be the reason why shrines of each daimyo were biult afterMeiji restoration.

On the right side of Hatto enshrines Ususama Myo-uo the guardian deity of toilets,is enshrined.
Since the tosu,toilet, was destroyed in a fire 250years ago, it is temporarily enshrined in the hall Hatto.

It is also said that the origin of Ususama Myo-oh is the Indian god Agni,
The power of Ususama Myo-oh is to burn away all impurities with fire.
It is also said that when you visit the shrine and pray, all impurities in your body will be burned so that you will be cured such as your underlying illness, and you will be able to give birth safely.