Pickup Now ! Vol.07

Deception and Mystery of Kanazawa’s Myoryuji Temple

Photo courtesy of Kanazawa City

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.

Photo courtesy of Kanazawa City

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.

Photo courtesy of Kanazawa City

The temple looks like a simple two-story 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 self-locking devices and low ceilings restrict enemies’ movements. The approximately 25-metre 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.

Photo courtesy of Kanazawa City

Make a reservation and spend an hour learning about the architectural secrets and mystery of Myoryuji Temple when you visit Kanazawa!

Photo courtesy of Kanazawa City

1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8031

Writer:Wendy Ng

A passionate educator, Wendy has experiences teaching English in Singapore, Japan and around the world on Peace Boat. With a MA in literary studies, she enjoys writing about her travel adventures. Embracing the “carpe diem” spirit, she thinks that life is too short not to eat and travel non-stop!

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