Kashozan Mirokuji Temple
A Moving Experience! See Japan’s Largest Tengu Mask at This Historic and Prestigious Temple.
Kashozan Mirokuji Temple is located to the north of Numata City, to the east of the Tanigawa mountain range. The temple grounds are surrounded by pure, clean air, giving it a comfortably refreshing atmosphere.
The temple was first founded in 848. Known to many as the “Tengu Mountain,” worshippers came to visit from across the country. The temple’s tengu is Chuho Zenji, the prodigy of the monk Tenson Zenji who converted the temple to the Soto school of Buddhism. It is said that at his death, Chuho Zenji vowed to become a Buddha of all living things, before his spirit ascended at the mountain’s peak. A tengu mask was left after his ascension, and so he came to be regarded as an incarnation of the tengu, and so the tengu mask came to be enshrined as a symbol of the revered Chuho.
The must-see parts of the temple include Japan’s largest tengu mask, which is one of Japan’s three great tengu masks, as well as the “Daitengu,” which was created to help eliminate traffic accidents. The mask is 6.5 meters long, with a 2.8-meter-long nose – something stunning that you can only see here at Kashozan Mirokuji Temple.
There are also various other masks of different sizes enshrined in Chuhodo Hall, where the tengu mask is located, making it a place filled with tengus. Being surrounded by all of the tengu masks is a unique experience sure to make a great story to tell!
There are plenty of other historical sights to see on top of just Chuhodo Hall, including the main temple building, Shorodo Hall, and main shrine. Kashodo Hall and Kaisando Hall are also open, so be sure to stop and worship there as well!
There is a custom at the temple called “okari-men,” or “borrowed mask,” where visitors borrow a tengu mask and take it home, then when they return they bring the mask back and purchase a new one at the temple’s shop to donate to the temple.
During the temple’s big summertime event, the “Numata Festival,” only women can carry the “tengu mikoshi” that enshrines the large tengu mask, and this event is becoming quite popular as the highlight of the festival.
There is a special public reveal of the temple’s tengu that occurs once every 10 years. The next occurrence is in May of 2025.
Public prayers are held 3 times per day (10:30am~, 11:30am~, and 1:30pm~). Please be sure to arrive 20 minutes before the start.
Ascetic training experiences are also available. Please contact the temple for details regarding dates and pricing.
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- Name in Japanese
- 迦葉山 弥勒寺
- Postal Code
- 445 Kamihotchimachi, Numata City, Gunma
- Open every day
- Summer 6:00am-5:00pm, winter 6:30am-4:30pm
(1) About 25 minutes from the Numata Interchange off the Kan-Etsu Expressway
(2) About 45 minutes by bus from the JR Joetsu Line’s Numata Station, then a 45-minute walk from the “Kashozan” bus stop.
- Official Website
- Official Website (Japanese)