History of Myojoji Temple
In the Takidani district of Hakui City, in the beautiful Noto Peninsula lays Myojoji Temple. Myojoji is the head temple for Nichiren Buddhism in the Hokuriku area. Myojoji has what is called “Shichido garan”, seven halls that make up an ideal Buddhist temple compound. The temple boasts ten nationally-recognized jūyō bunkazai (a tangible cultural property that has been deemed to be of particular importance), three prefecturally-recognized jūyō bunkazai, and a garden famous for its scenic beauty.
On the temple compound, Soshido Hall, the Main Hall, and Sankodo Hall stand side by side. This formation preserves the ancient atmosphere of the Nichiren temple.
In 1294 The Venerable Nichizo, was en route to Kyoto as instructed by the late Nichiren, founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. During his journey, on a ship from Sado to Nanao, Nichizo met a man named Manzohoin. Manzohoin was the head priest of the Tenpyoji Temple on Sekidosan Mountain. Impressed with Nichizo’s teaching of the Lotus Sutra, Manzohoin invited Nichizo to Sekidozan Mountain to preach the Lotus Sutra to all the monks in training.
However, the monks became enraged by the Nichiren teachings, and attacked Nichizo and Manzohoshi with swords and spears.
The two men ran for their lives down the mountain and with the help of two brothers, Kagataro and Kitataro, they escaped to Takidani.
The danger having been avoided, two holy priests healed their wounds at Hakusan Shinto shrine near the famous Odaki and Medaki Falls.
However, with his sights still set on Kyoto, Nichizo left Hakusan. But before leaving, he stuck a pagoda tree branch he had carried from Kamakura into the ground and said to Manzohoin, “If this stick takes root and becomes a tree, you should raise a temple of the Lotus Sutra.”
After some time, the stick took root and began to grow into a tree. Monzohoin changed his name to “Nichijyo” and erected Myojoji Temple as the Lotus Sutra headquarters in the Hokuriku area, declaring Preist Nichizo the founder of the temple and himself as the second founder.
Hundreds of years later, in 1582, Toshiie Maeda, who later became the first lord of the Kaga clan, occupied the Noto Peninsula and visited Myojoji Temple during patrol. After hearing the history of the temple, he decided he wanted it to be the prayer hall for his family’s success in war and his domain’s safety. He offered the temple more land, expanding the temple compound.
A concubine of Toshiie Maeda, Chiyobo Jyufukuin, was a devout follower of the Lotus Sutra. She appointed Myojoji Temple as her family’s temple, to be passed on from generation to generation.
During the days of Toshitsune, the third lord of the Kaga clan and Jyufukuin’s son, The Kaga clan offered to build the Main Hall for Myojoji. In 1618, the five- story pagoda was constructed.
Since then, they maintained the temple for 70 years.
As there has been no fires, this temple hasn’t changed for 400 years.