Hougensan Seirin-ji Temple, Miyagi

A temple with a connection to warlord Yukimura Sanada

By Justin Velgus    - 2 min read

Most non-Japanese visitors who visit Shiroishi City in southern Miyagi Prefecture go straight to Fox Village. Unique not only to Japan but around the entire globe, the must-see-to-believe mysterious mountain theme park is populated by foxes instead of people! History and samurai fans, however, explore the central area in front of JR Shiroishi on foot with the main objective being Shiroishi Castle. I was wondering what else there is to do in the city, then I decided to seek out three temples I had researched online. All the temples are located near each other with the closest temple (Hougensan Seirin-ji) less than a 10-minute walk from the castle. I thought it would be fun to introduce them in a mini-series.

1. Joeizan Kessan-ji Temple (傑山寺)

2. Jorin-ji Temple (常林寺)

3. Hougensan Seirin-ji Temple (法源山清林寺)

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Hougensan Seirin-ji Temple is the least visually exciting of this three temple series. However, you'll be allowed a close-up view of the intricate temple bell and some charming seasonal flowers which are worth a quick glance. The main attraction here is the temple's connection to the famous general often referred to the "greatest warrior of the Warring States period", Yukimura Sanada (1567-1615). The fascinating history of the clan is very well-explained in Japan Travel contributor Gary's article.

You can look, but please don't ring the temple bell
You can look, but please don't ring the temple bell

According to the information post outside the temple:

"Just before the fall of Osaka Castle during the "Summer Battle of Osaka" in 1615, General Yukimura Sanada of the Toyotomi Shogunate Army entrusted his youngest daughter, Oume, to Shigennaga Katakura, a chief retainer of the Date Clan, and a follower of the Tokugawa Shogunate Army.

In the wake of the fall, Shigennaga then took in the remaining orphans of General Yukimura-his son Daihachi, and his daughters Oshobu and Okane-and brought them to live in the castle town of Shiroishi."

Furthermore, this temple was founded by Busen Mitsui, a surviving retainer of General Yukimura Sanada! The temple crest borrows the same six coin crest used by the Sanada clan.

Hougensan Seirin-ji Temple belongs to the Hogan-ji Temple Shinshu sect of Buddhism, its main temple being Nishi Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto. Like Jorin-ji Temple, its principal deity is also Amida Buddha.

Some autumn plants add a splash of color to the temple grounds
Some autumn plants add a splash of color to the temple grounds

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Justin Velgus

Justin Velgus @justin.velgus

Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is the Miyagi Prefecture Partner for Japan Travel and a longterm contributor since 2012 with a focus on the Tohoku region.  Justin has written extensively for JT, and other publications such as VisitMiyagi and Sake Today, amassing over 350 published articles introducing the travel and culture of the region. Justin's wealth of experience and knowledge comes from studying in Akita, teaching English in Miyagi through the JET Program, and promoting sake overseas for the government of Fukushima. Now Justin helps with inbound tourism and regional promotion while also enjoying his role as a volunteer tour guide in Sendai, the gyutan capital of the world.

Join the discussion

Bonson Lam 2 weeks ago
It is hard to imagine the harrowing journey from Osaka to here that Shigennaga took all those years ago.