Official

Rinzai Sect Kenchoji School Banshozan Souzenji

Adorned in Abundant Nature, an Ancient and Honorable Temple with a History of Over 800 Years

Temple

From Kiryu’s city center, head west towards a mountainous region. Enveloped by abundant nature, you will find Banshozan Souzenji, a Buddhist temple that has been designated as a Green Space Environmental Conservation Area by Gunma Prefecture. Its beautiful scenery in all seasons, such as spring greenery and fall foliage, is one of this temple’s charms. Strengthen heart and soul just by strolling along Amitabha-no-Komichi, a path extending through a deciduous broad-leafed forest behind the temple. On the vast grounds covering approximately 33,000 square meters, an over 600-year-old amur cork tree, designated as a Natural Monument by Gunma Prefecture, will command your attention.

Even more appealing is the deep history that can be felt here. Said to have been founded in 1205 by Chimyo Shonin, a disciple of Honen Shonin, founder of the Rinzai Sect, the main building of Souzenji has kept on shining the light of Buddhism for over 800 years. Climb the stairs and the first thing to catch your eye will be the old temple gate, with a deep history dating to its construction in 1727. Go through the gate and on your right is an old bell tower, recorded as having been built in 1753.

The main attraction of this temple is, without a doubt, its Amitabha Buddha statue, designated as an Important Cultural Asset of Gunma Prefecture. Said to have been created during the Kamakura Era (1185-1333), this wooden structure still keeps its benevolent expression. While it usually cannot be seen, the Amitabha Buddha statue is unveiled for public viewing once a year, on November 22 and 23.

Highlights

  • Gunma Prefecture has designated the temple’s abundant nature as a Green Space Environmental Conservation Area.
  • There is an amur cork tree over 600 years old that has been designated a Natural Monument by Gunma Prefecture.
  • Beautiful scenery can be seen in all 4 seasons.
  • Since its foundation over 800 years ago, the light of Buddhism has continued to shine from this temple.
  • An Amitabha Buddha statue, designated as an Important Cultural Asset by Gunma Prefecture, can be seen here.

Photos

  • The bell tower is visible beyond the autumn foliage
  • At the top of the stairway is the Amitabha Buddha Hall
  • The beautiful scenery complements these historical structures
  • Surrounded by fresh spring greenery, the current main hall was completed in 1988
  • It’s also a popular spot for watching leaves change color
  • The illuminated autumn colors are beautiful

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Details

Name in Japanese
臨済宗 建長寺派 萬松山 崇禅寺
Postal Code
376-0041
Address
2-651 Kawauchi-Cho, Kiryu City, Gunma
Telephone
0277-65-9422
Admission
Free of charge
Closed
Never
*The Amitabha Buddha statue is only open to the public on its annual exhibition days (11/22-23)
Hours
Open year-round
Access
(1) About 10 minutes by taxi from Shin-kiryu Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line
(2) About 10 minutes by taxi from Kiryu Station on the JR Ryomo Line
(3) About 10 minutes by taxi from Nishi-Kiryu Station on the Jomo Railway Line
Official Website
Official Website (Japanese)