Jionji monastery, (in) Sagae, Yamagata Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Hossô monk Gyôki (668–749) is thought to have founded Jionji in 724 by order of Emperor Shômu. In the 12th century, Jionji flourished as one of the imperial temple holdings of emperors Toba and Go-Shirakawa.
During the Edo period (1600–1868), Jionji prospered, receiving 2,812 koku of estates from the Tokugawa Shogunate. It declined in the Meiji period under the new laws separating and privileging Shinto over Buddhism.
- Uryû (2003: 216

Gyôki selected the site for the monastery in 724, but construction began in 746 under Indian monk Bodhisena (704–60), who reached Japan via China during the Nara period. In 1108, Emperor Toba ordered Fujiwara Motohira to undertake repairs. In 1185, Retired Emperor Go-Shirakawa bestowed the name Zuihôzan. During this period, the temple incorporated Tendai and Shingon doctrine into its Hossô tradition. Furthermore, it became known for Shugendô (syncretic mountain asceticism), and was linked at first to the gods of Hayama volcano, and later to those of the Jûbuichi-tôge mountain peaks.
- “Jionji (Sagae-shi)”慈恩寺_(寒河江市)

The name Jionji derives from the characters of Jion Daishi, the Hossô founder. Ritual ceremonies performed at Jionji resembled those of Kôfukuji. The Kazô’in cloister itself had 220 koku of estates, 9 subtemples, and 10 yamabushi (mountain ascetic) temples. Hôzô’in (宝蔵院) cloister had 110 koku, 9 subtembles, and 19 yamabushi temples.
- Tamamuro (1992: 307)

The current main hall dates to 1618. Jionji possesses Heian- and Kamakura-period sculptures that have been designated as important cultural properties. These include a sculpture of Amida Nyôrai (Amitabha), and the main object of worship, the Miroku (Maitreya) Bodhisattva.
- “Jionji”

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Aug 29, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 28 Apr 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Jionji monastery, JP.

General location of the Jionji monastery, JP.
Lat 38.410256 Long 140.250853
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2010.

Google Map link:,%20JP)&ll=38.410256,140.250853&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Jionji 慈恩寺. Alternative English spelling: Jion-ji

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Yamagata Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Zuihôzan - Uryû (2003: 216)

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 38.410256 Long 140.250853 - based on the visual identification of the temple in maps, - tmciolek, 30 Aug 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Hossô: Jion sect

11. Date-early

  • 724 - Uryû (2003: 216)
  • MBM chrono-tag 0700-32c - tmciolek 28 Apr 2013
  • 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

  • Edo period (1600–1868) - Uryû (2003: 216)
  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 28 Apr 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Documents, artifacts

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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