Tourist spot in Kanazawa city

Ninja-dera (Myoryuji) [忍者寺 (妙立寺)]

Entrance of Myoryuji
Entrance of Myoryuji
Photo by Kanazawa City

Main temple of Myoryuji
Main temple of Myoryuji
Photo by Ishikawa Prefectural Tourism League

Map of Kanazawa city

Ninja-dera is a Buddhist temple located about 0.3 km southeast of Nishi-Chaya district and about 2.5 km south of Kanazawa station.

"Ninja-dera" is the nickname, and the formal name is Myoryuji.
("O" and "u" in "Myoryuji" are pronounced long, so it is read as "Myôryûji" in Japanese.)

Ninja is a spy or an assassin serving a Japanese feudal lord in the 15th to 19th centuries.
They used various techniques to creep into the target place and evade their pursuers.

There was no Ninja in this temple.
But this temple has various tricks and traps, so it is similar to Ninja house.

In 1643, Maeda Toshitsune, the the 3rd lord of Kaga Clan, built this temple.

Kaga Clan was a large and rich clan, so central Edo Government (current Tokyo) had always observed the movements of Kaga Clan.
So, it would have been possible that the troops from Edo were sent to Kaga.

Toshitsune's aim was to set up the protection facilities of Kanazawa city without the knowledge of Edo Government.

He built many Buddhist temples around this area unsuspectedly, and he put not only priests but also many samurais in the temples to prepare for emergencies.

This Myoryuji was the central temple, and is the temple of Nichiren Buddhism which is one of major Japanese Buddhism.
But the building was built as a fort.

Main temple of Myoryuji
Main temple of Myoryuji
Photo by Ishikawa Prefectural Tourism League

Lookout on the top of main temple of Myoryuji
Lookout on the top of main temple

This temple is seemingly ordinary.

And it looks like two-story building, but it has four stories and seven layers.
(Edo Government had prohibited construction of building with more than three stories.)

And an inconspicuous lookout was attached on the top of the roof.

There is a well 25 meters deep in the center of the site.
And the tunnels for escape from all rooms lead to this well.

And many secret compartments and pitfalls are set up to move to different parts of the temple.

In addition, it has been said that there is a tunnel leading to Kanazawa Castle from this temple.
But it still is not found.

To tour inside of this temple, we must join its guide tour.
Young children cannot join it.
(If you tour this temple by oneself, it is said that you may not come back safely.)

Additionally, we have to have an appointment to join the tour by only telephone (076-241-0888).
And, taking photos is not permitted in this temple.

It takes about 40 minutes to tour.


How to get here

By route bus (Kanazawa Loop Bus [Left loop]), about 15 minutes from Kanazawa station to Hirokoji stop.

Other Tourist Attractions in Kanazawa

Return to Kanazawa Return to Ishikawa Prefecture Return to Hokuriku Region