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Jigen-ji Temple

Jigen-ji Temple is known for its beautiful, mossy garden, which is particularly dramatic in the early spring and late autumn.

Jigen-ji Temple

Jigen-ji is a temple of the Sōtō Zen Buddhism sect in Niihama. It stands at the eastern foot of Mt. Kaneko, where Takinomiya Park is located. It’s known for its beautiful, mossy garden, which is particularly dramatic in the early spring and late autumn. Its large buildings are resplendent with wood carving, sculpture, and painted images. A large stone statue of Kannon stands next to the main gate.

The temple is closely associated with the Kaneko clan, who controlled the area for several centuries. Kaneko Ietada, who fought in the Genpei War, was given Nii-gō in Iyo Province and other territory for his military service. Around 1283, Kaneko Yorihiro, the fifth descendant of Ietada, left the capital to live in the territory. He built a residence at the site where Jigen-ji Temple currently stands, as well as a castle on the mountaintop, and a family temple, which was the predecessor of Jigen-ji Temple, at the northern foot of the mountain.

During Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Shikoku in 1585, the head of the Kaneko clan, Kaneko Motoie died in battle, and the temple was burned down. His younger brother, Kaneko Motoharu, escaped to Daiō-ji Temple in Imabari after the fall of Kaneko Castle and tried to commit suicide. He was stopped by the chief priest and became a priest himself. After training, Motoharu studied at Chōgen-ji Temple in Fukushima, and then returned to his hometown, where he built a temple on the site of the ruined residence of his clan. This was Jigen-ji, which since then has belonged to the Sōtō Zen sect.

Motoharu become a highly regarded priest thereafter, and he received letters patent from Empress Meishō. Later, the temple was granted use of the imperial chrysanthemum crest. The graves of Motoharu and other members of the Kaneko clan can still be seen at the temple.

Information

Name in Japanese: 慈眼寺

Pronunciation: jigenji

Address: 2 Chome-16-47 Nishinodoicho, Niihama, Ehime Prefecture 792-0035, Japan

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