Temple History
The Onshoji Temple was founded by a holy priest, Echigo Ajari Nichiben Shonin (1239 -1311), who was one of the direct disciples of the Venerable Nichiren.

The holy priest Nichiben was ordered by his master the Venerable Nichiren to spread the teachings of Buddha (Hokekyo, the Lotus Sutra) around the Tohoku region. On his way to the destinations such as Chiba, Ibaraki, Iwate and Aomori Prefectures, he made a brief stopover at this area and began to preach Buddhism.

A lord Iganomori Teisho-Ko, the third generation of Mr. Hachirosuke Sakamoto, controlled the area at that time. He provided his estate and built a temple for the holy priest Nichiben. He named the temple “the Joeizan Onshoji Temple”, using characters from the lord Iganomori Teisho-Ko’s name, in 1294.

The walking stick he used was sent to the Onshoji Temple as a memento by his followers. After the stick was put into a burial mound, it took root and began to bud. It grew bigger and its buds came into cherry blossoms in spring. People gathered around the cherry tree and enjoyed themselves under the beautiful flowers. Although the cherry tree died several decades ago, a monument was put up to the memory of the holy priest Nichiben and his cherry tree walking stick. The monument always reminds us of the virtue of the holy Nichiben.

Unfortunately, all the temple structures including the main hall and the guest hall were destroyed by a fire in 1687, and the treasures and the documents of the temple could not survive. Later the chief priests over three generations had spent as many as 73 years for rebuilding the temple. It has been passed on to the present day.
early in the Showa period, the stick cherry
tree remains in the middle of the picture

early in the Showa period, the stick cherry tree remains in the middle of the picture
Pine Trees of Crane and Tortoise
“The Pine Trees of Tsuru-Kame” is a pair of pine trees that look like two creatures, a tsuru (crane) and a kame (tortoise). For example, “the Pine Tree of Kame (Tortoise)” is beautifully curbed as if it were crawling on the ground in the west of the precinct of the Takeda Shrine. In April of 2017, ”the Pine Trees of Tsuru-Kame” ware donated by Mr. Ryuji Watanabe from Nagasaka-cho.

He also donated “the Draft Design”, which shows a connection between “the Pine Trees of Tsuru-Kame” and a Noh stage. These Pine Trees are the origin of the pine trees depicted on the wall panel at the back of the Koyobu Noh stage in the Takeda Shrine. “The Draft Design” illustrates the procedure in detail how these Pine Trees were depicted on the wall panel at the back of the Noh stage. This work of “the Draft Design” was painted in Japanese color tones and rearranged in a modern style using a technique called “collage”. It is on display at the main hall. Please feel free to stop by and enjoy this elaborate work of “the Draft Design”.
Cultural property
    The Main Hall  
The Main Hall was built in 1760. In the Main Hall, the Ten Worlds Mandala Holy Masters are enshrined. The statue of the Venerable Nichiren preaching earnestly and the sedentary statue of the holy priest Nichiben are also worshipped there. The pictures on the ceiling show the lifestyle in those days when the Main Hall was built. Celestial nymphs and dragons are depicted on the parapets (railings).
    the Bell Tower  
The bell was obligatorily supplied to the government in accordance with the metal collection law before the war. Although the tower remained, it collapsed by the typhoon in 1959. In 1976, the bell tower was finally restored. It took 5 years to restore. Now every year on New Year’s Eve, a large number of people come to the temple to worship, ring out the old year and enjoy the deep tones of the bell.
    Pine Trees of Crane and Tortoise  
Japanese Red Pines in the Onshoji Temple
Yamanashi prefecture designated natural monument
They are called “the Pine Trees of Husband and Wife” as well.
They are about 500 years old and a beautiful pair of red pines, one is tall and the other is short.
Yamanashi Prefecture designated these red pines as a natural monument on October 26th in 1970 .
    Ginkgo with Leaves  
Twin Ginkgos with a Leaf
Hokuto City designated natural monument
It is called Twin Ginkgos with a Leaf because it bears two nuts on a leaf. The tree is considered approximately 300 years old. The twin ginkgos with leaves account for only 10% and the other ginkgos are big in size and very delicious to eat.

International Cultural Exchange

August 2018

Junior high school students from Madison County in Kentucky, a sister city of Hokuto City, visited the temple, experienced the bell ringing and tea ceremony. They experienced Japanese traditional tea ceremony for the first time. Sitting on a tatami mat was a little difficult for them but they tried to sit properly until the end of the ceremony. They were very good at making Japanese traditional green tea. A boy named Corrin seemed to be so interested in Japanese culture that he asked the proper way of greeting people. They had a good time with Japanese seasonal sweets and a cup of Japanese light tea.


October 2019

A man named Neil stopped by during his bike trip and made a sketch of the Bell Tower.

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