A to Wa of Japan: Week 42

It’s time for A to Wa of Japan again! Last week’s post was about things beginning with  り (ri) and we looked at Rishiri-to (利尻島). This week we are looking at things beginning with る (ru). A big thank you to those who joined in with suggestions this week:

Japan Australia suggested Ruriko-ji (瑠璃光寺 / a temple in Yamaguchi), and Rusutsu (留寿都 / a ski resort in Hokkaido); and Paul suggested RuRuBu (るるぶ / travel guides which are magazine style tourist guides/restaurant advert brochures).

Hmm… not many suggestions this week! I guess ‘ru’ is a pretty tough one. I found it hard to think of any other ideas, so in the end I decided to go with…

Ruriko-ji (瑠璃光寺)

Ruriko-ji ©JNTO

Ruriko-ji ©JNTO

Ruriko-ji, as Japan Australia told me, is a temple in Yamaguchi City (山口市). I had never heard of it before, but there are so many temples in Japan I couldn’t possibly know them all!

This Buddhist temple is known for its five-storied pagoda, built in 1442, which is ranked among Japan’s three most beautiful pagodas (according to Japan Guide). The pagoda, standing approximately 31 metres high, is also one of Japan’s National Treasures. Apparently there is a small museum on the temple grounds which displays images of over fifty other five-storied pagodas from across Japan.

Ruriko-ji's five-storied pagoda

Ruriko-ji’s five-storied pagoda

(Image source)

Ruriko-ji was actually located somewhere else, but in 1690 it was relocated to this place and joined the five-storied pagoda which was already there. According to JNTO

Ruriko-ji originated when the 16th century samurai Ouchi Yoshihiro built Koshaku-ji as the temple for holding memorial services for members of his family. In 1442, a five-storied pagoda, a type of architecture that has existed in Japan since ancient times, was built by Morimi, Yoshihiros younger brother, in memory of Yoshihiro. Mori Terumoto, who ruled this region after the decline of the Ouchi family, brought Koshaku-ji with him when he moved to a different place, leaving behind only the five-storied pagoda. In 1690, a temple named Ruriko-ji, which was located somewhere else, was moved to the location of the five-storied pagoda. This temple has been here ever since.

As some of you will know, I have quite an interest in Japanese history, but it’s not something I know a huge deal about yet. I’d love to find out more about how these samurai moved temples from one place to another! Did they dismantle them and rebuild them elsewhere? I guess they must have done.

Ruriko-ji Main Hall

Ruriko-ji Main Hall

(Image source)

Ruriko-ji is about 3km north of Yamaguchi Station.

If this image I’ve taken from Google Street View is anything to go by, there’s not much else around the temple but it does look nice and peaceful.

Ruriko-ji (Google Street View)

Ruriko-ji (Google Street View)

On Google Street View you can actually go quite a way into the temple grounds, which is pretty cool.

I don’t think Ruriko-ji is a place many tourists would get to, but if you happen to be in Yamaguchi it certainly looks like a place worth visiting.


Next week we’ll start with れ (re), so please leave a comment below suggesting a topic for things beginning with れ. Topics can be anything, as long as they are connected to Japan – food, places, people, characters, whatever you want to hear about! Just remember that the words you suggest must be Japanese words.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions!  (*^_^)v

8 thoughts on “A to Wa of Japan: Week 42

  1. Thanks for using my suggestion. I’ve yet to visit Ruriko-ji, but have heard many wonderful things about it, so its always been on my bucket list.

    A few suggestions for next week are:

    Rendai-ji (onsen town in Shizuoka)
    Renkon (lotus root)


  2. I’ve been to Yamaguchi but somehow didn’t manage to go to Ruriko-ji – now I’ll have to go back and visit it.

    For れ can I suggest:

    Reiki – spiritual healing and massage
    Rebun-to – island next to Rishiri-to (from your post a few weeks ago)


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