“Warriors serve with the bow and sword, not with the pick and shovel.”
Those words, spoken over 600 years ago, set in motion a bloodstained event that eventually led to the construction of the graceful pagoda that now stands in Yamaguchi’s Kōzan Park, adjacent to Rurikōji Temple.
Designated a national treasure and considered one of the three most beautiful pagodas in Japan, Rurikōji’s five-tiered pagoda is today the symbol of Yamaguchi City and the culture that blossomed here during the city’s heyday under the rule of the Ōuchi clan in the Muromachi period (ca. 1336 to 1573).
The pagoda is the must-see site in Yamaguchi. But without Rurikōji Temple, the pagoda would not be here for us to enjoy today. Delve into the temple’s history and discover the meaning behind its sacred objects. Along the way, learn about two crises that almost saw it lost to time.
Hear from one of the temple’s priests and the craftsman who built the pagoda’s elegant cypress bark roofs. Meet Sesshū, one of Japan’s most renowned ink wash painters.
Also discover Yamaguchi’s radical past as the home of two uprisings against the national government. And see the buildings where Yamaguchi’s revolutionaries planned the Meiji Restoration, which not only transformed Japan but also greatly impacted the course of world history.
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