Deception and Mystery of Kanazawa's Myoryuji Temple
A trip to a temple has never been so exciting till you step into Myoryuji Temple. Commonly known as “Ninja Temple”, Myoryuji Temple does not have direct connections to ninjas but has many deceptive defenses.
Myoryuji Temple was built initially as a place of worship, and was moved to Teramachi in Kanazawa by the Maeda clan in the 17th century. To defend against attacks by the Tokugawa Shogunate, the temple was reinforced with defensive mechanisms purposefully designed and strategically concealed to circumvent strict restrictions imposed by the Shogunate to limit the ruling lord’s power.
The temple looks like a simple two-storey building that adhered to the Shogunate’s building regulations. However, it actually has four levels that are subdivided into seven layers. The top level provides a good vantage point to survey the surroundings.
Filled with an intricate labyrinth of 23 rooms and 29 stairways, the temple is a confusing place to navigate. Some stairways lead to traps while others allow the defenders to injure enemies through flimsy floorboards.
Pitfalls and hidden rooms are found in different corners of the building. Strategically placed sliding doors trap enemies with selflocking devices and low ceilings restrict enemies’ movements. The approximately 25metre deep well of the temple is rumored to lead to a secret tunnel leading to Kanazawa Castle.
To gain exclusive access to the temple, visitors have to register for the official guided tour, which can be done by telephone. Tours are offered every 30 minutes and conducted only in Japanese. English speakers will be given an English booklet during the tour.
Make a reservation and spend an hour learning about the architectural secrets and mystery of Myoryuji Temple when you visit Kanazawa!
Address: 1212 Nomachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 9218031
This article was published in ANA Experience Japan website 2016-2018.