The Mori Clan, who built the castle town of Hagi and ruled the domain from there during the Edo period, had, rather unusually, two family temples for the burial of their dead. Local people say this was a ruse by the clan to downplay their power in the eyes of the ruling shogunate.
The first family temple was Daishoin, a Rinzai sect temple rebuilt by the Mori in the late 17th century. Here the first, second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth lords and their wives were buried, while the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh were buried at Tokoji Temple on the other side of Hagi.
Both graveyards have hundreds of stone lanterns donated by faithful retainers, though Daishoin has 600, about 100 more than Tokoji.
Because of its location, a little away from major tourist attractions in Hagi, Daishoin gets far fewer visitors than Tokoji. The temple is less well maintained and a little run down, but this only adds to its charm and atmosphere, coupled with the fact that it is often empty of visitors.
Daishoin is a short walk from Hagi JR station.
Open from 8:30am to 5:00pm daily. Entrance 200 yen
© Jake Davies & JapanVisitor.com
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010