Unpenji monastery, (near) Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Unpenji was reputedly founded by Kûkai, founder of Shingon Buddhism, while he was searching for lumber on the mountain Kyôgozan for Zentsûji monastery. Emperor Saga gave him permission to carve and enshrine an image of the kannon, and thus found a pilgrimage site.

During the Heian period (794-1185), the monastery flourished as the “Shikoku Kôya” (i.e. the Kôyazan of Shikoku), a learning center for monks from around the island of Shikoku. It received patronage from Emperor Seiwa (r. 858–876). In 1577, Chôsokabe Motochika, the daimyô of the Saga domain, visited Unpenji in his bid to unify and control the island of Shikoku.

The main object of worship, the seated 1000-arm Kannon (Avalokiteshvara) dates to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The standing Bishomonten (Vaiśravaṇa, chief of the Four Heavenly Kings) dates to the Heian period.
- Uryû (2003: 242)
- “Unpenji,” http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/雲辺寺

Unpenji also received patronage and fiefs over the centuries from powerful local figures: Sasaki Tsunetada, the shugo (military governor) of Awa-no-kuni funded some reconstruction in 1208; the Saionji family landowners donated shôen (estates) in 1311; the second domain lord of Tokushima domain donated funds in 1650.
– Tamamura (1992:39)

Input by: Lizbeth H Piel, Jan 09, 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 13 Jan 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 Unpenji monastery, JP.

General location of the Unpenji monastery, JP.
Lat 34.03523 Long 133.72374
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2013.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Unpenji 雲辺寺. Alternative English spelling: Unpen-ji

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Tokushima Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 34.03523 Long 133.72374 - based on visual identification of the site in maps and satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 13 Jan 2013.

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

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag 0767-99c - tmciolek 13 Jan 2013
  • 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

  • Devastated by a fire of 1420, the monastery was rebuilt in 1522 – Tamamura (1992:39)
  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 13 Jan 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Number 66 of the 88 Shingon temples of the Shikoku pilgrimage

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Documents, architecture

16. Additional notes

  • During the Heian period (794-1185), the monastery flourished as the “Shikoku Kôya” (i.e. the Kôyazan of Shikoku), a learning center for monks from around the island of Shikoku. - Uryû (2003: 242), “Unpenji,” http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/雲辺寺

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

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 1]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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