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Castle Ryusenji Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Ryūsenji Temple is located in the northern part of Moriyama Ward, Nagoya, near Obata Ryokuchi. Saicho (最澄) originally founded the temple during the Enryaku era (782~806). Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城 Ryūsenjijō) is said to have been built by Oda Nobuyuki (織田信行) , Nobunaga's younger brother, in 1556. Before the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Oda Nobunaga dispatched a force to Ryūsenji to establish a defence line northeast of Kiyosu Castle. In 1584, Toyotomi Hideyoshi took up a position at the castle in the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute against the forces of Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu. who advanced toward Obata Castle. When Hideyoshi retreated, the temple hall was set alight and destroyed.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

The surrounding terrain shows it is a crucial location on a hill with the Shonai River (庄内川) flowing north. It must have been a nuisance for the priests at the temple, but it is no wonder the castle was built.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

Aerial photographs taken from Geographical Survey Institute maps. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

We approached the castle from Obata Castle. After a surprisingly undulating path, we eventually reached a small hill, the location of Ryūsenji.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

Further up the hill, you will arrive at Ryūsenji Temple. It takes about 40 minutes from Obata Castle to here. The gate is an important cultural asset.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

Today was the first day of spring, and the temple was crowded with visitors. At the right-hand end of the temple grounds is the keep-style Treasure House, shown in the first photograph of this article, which can be entered for 100 yen.

There are only a few exhibits in the museum, but it contains valuable Buddhist statues such as the one below.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

View to the north from the lookout. The Shonai River flows nearby.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

From here, we travelled by bus on the Yutorito Line (ゆとりーとライン), a unique bus that runs on a private road.

Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城)

Date of visit: 21 March 2014

Ryūsenji Temple (竜泉寺)

Ryūsenji Temple is a temple of the Tendai sect, also known as Shodosan Daigyoin Ryūsenji (松洞山大行院竜泉寺). It is one of the four Kannon temples in Owari that protect Nagoya Castle. The principal deity is Batō Kannon (馬頭觀音), the Horse-headed Kannon. According to legend, Owari Ryūsenji Temple was built in one night by the Ryūo (龍王), the Dragon King. It is said that Kōbō-Daishi (Kukai) buried three of the eight swords of Atsuta at Ryūsenji during his visit to Atsuta Shrine. From then on, the temple was regarded as the inner sanctuary of Atsuta. After its destruction by Hideyoshi, the temple was rebuilt in 1598 by Shūjun (秀純), a monk from the nearby temple Mikurain (密蔵院); however, it was torched again in February 1906, destroying everything except the pagoda, Niōmon gate built in 1607 and the bell tower. Two Keichō large oval stamps and a koban container containing 98 Keichō koban stamps were unearthed in the ruins of the fire, which provided funds for rebuilding the main hall. A multi-purpose pagoda was built in 1895.

As mentioned above, in the history of Owari, Ryūsenji was used as a military facility several times, so it is sometimes called Ryūsenji Castle (龍泉寺城). Even today, traces of a dry moat remain in some areas around the precincts, and a three-storied mock castle tower has been built next to the Japanese garden on the back side of the precincts. This doubles as a treasure hall that houses the wooden statue of Jizō Bodhisattva (地蔵菩薩), an important cultural property, and Enkubutsu (円空仏).


  • Address: 1-1-902 Ryūsenji, Moriyama Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 463-0801
  • Access: by train via JR Chūō Line, Meitetsu Seto Line, Municipal Subway Meijō Line From Ozone Station, transfer to the Yutorito Line and get off at Ryūsenjiguchi, then walk for 3 minutes.
    By car two kilometres from Nagoya Second Ring Road Obata Interchange via Prefectural Route 15.
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Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.


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Hiroto Uehara
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〒463-0801 愛知県名古屋市守山区竜泉寺1丁目1−902 龍泉寺城

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