Seigantoji monastery, (in) Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Located on Mt. Nachi near the Kii Peninsula to the south of Nara, Seigantoji was supposedly built on a site shared by an older Kumano Nachi Shrine, which, according to legend, was founded in the fourth century by the quasi-legendary Emperor Nintoku. This legend establishes the mountain hermitage as a fusion of Buddhism and the Kumano cult (Shugendô) that was especially popular in the Heian period (794–1185).

By orders of Empress Suiko in the late 6th, early 7th century, the hermit Shôbutsu apparently established the first hall and enshrined a Nyoirin Kannon statue said to have been brought to Japan by an Indian monk, Ragyô (or carved by Shôbutsu himself). A visit by Emperor Kazan between 984 and 986 popularized the temple among the aristocracy as the first destination of the Saigoku Kannon pilgrimage route. Mongaku (1139–1203) in the Heike monogatari did ascetic training here.

The oldest sculptures enshrined at Seiganto-ji date to the Hakuhô period (646–710), many having been discovered in 1916 in a cache under the Nachizan waterfall.

-Uryû (2003: 212)
-“History of Seigantoji”

In the Tokugawa Period (1600–1868), “Seigantoji had three main temples as well as 37 residential and training building. But all that remained after the Meiji Restoration was the Nyorindō and the abbot’s quarters.”

-“History of Seigantoji”

Today the oldest building, the golden (main) hall, dates to 1590, rebuilt by warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi after being burned down by his predecessor Oda Nobunaga.

-“Saigoku Sanjû-san sho ichiban reisho Seigantoji”

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Aug 19, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 15 Jul 2014

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 Seigantoji monastery, JP.

General location of the Seigantoji monastery, JP.
Lat 33.66915 Long 135.88987
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2010.

Google Map link:,%20JP)&ll=33.66915,135.88987&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Seigantoji 青岸渡寺. Alternative English spelling: Seiganto-ji.

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Wakayama Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 33.66915 Long 135.88987 - based on the visual identification of the monastery in maps, - tmciolek, 22 Aug 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

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

  • Higashi Muro-gun, Nachikatsuura-chô

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • In 1955, Katsuura was merged with other villages to form Nachikatsuura township -Nihon chimei jiten (19998: 876)
  • Much of Wakayama Prefecture was known as Kii Province

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Tendai

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0667-99p 0700-32c - tmciolek 15 Jul 2014 
0667-99p 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

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 15 Jul 2014 

13. Date-late

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Indirectly linked to 32 other temples, including Onjoji (Miidera) and Kiyomizudera, through the Saigoku Kannon pilgrimage route - Uryû (2003: 212) & Emmot (2001-2010b)

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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