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Jichi-in Temple

Yamagata Prefecture

A towering buddha statue stands on the grounds of this temple.

Nestled in the historic port city of Sakata is a sprawling temple complex with a towering buddha statue that watches over the surrounding area.  This temple is called Jichi-in Temple and traces back over 600 years from when the founders of this temple first came to this region to escape war brought on by the rise of the Date Family in 1396 in Iwate Prefecture. 

Jichi-in is located right next to Sakata Station and is easily spotted by the Great Buddha of Sakata that rises 17 meters above the downtown area.  This temple is free to enter and actively wishes to welcome international visitors who wish to see its many buddhist statues and prayers halls in its many rooms. 

This temple also hosts Zen meditation sessions that are open to the public. See below for more information. 

The exterior of Jichi-in Temple

Quick Info

Cost

General Admission: Free
Soto Zen Meditation Experience: 500 yen 
See below for experience details.

Opening Hours

9:00am to 4:00pm

Average Duration

1 hour

Address

1-4-38 Hiyoshicho, Sakata 998-0037

Other tips

This temple is located within easy walking distance of Sakata Station. It is also located within walking distance of Somaro.

Jinichi-in Temple was originally built along the Mogami River in the early 1400’s but was repeatedly damaged by tsunami that barrelled down the river.  This temple along with many residents moved to what is now Sakata City in 1459. 

However, fires were a constant menace to feudal Japan’s dry wooden buildings and this temple had to be moved several times until finally settling in its current location in 1797.

Jichi-in temple is dedicated to the teachings of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism and has many halls and shrines throughout its grounds where various rituals are held each day.  This temple is filled with stunningly beautiful, wooden and bronze buddha statues including one of the largest bronze buddha statues in Japan.  

One of the many wooden statues inside the temple.
A monk walking through the halls.

The Great Buddha of Sakata

The first Sakata Buddha in 1914

Towering over many of the buildings in downtown Sakata is the great buddha of Sakata.  This statue stands over 17 meters high and is said to be one of the finest metal statues in Japan.

The buddha of this temple was originally made in 1914 to watch over the souls those who had perished in the Sino-Japanese War and Sakata Earthquake.  It also stood as a symbol for world peace. 

Unfortunately, this statue met its end under tragically ironic circumstances as it was forcibly dismantled and melted down for its metal during WWII and turned into weapons of war that were used in the Pacific Theater.

The Sakata Buddha today

This had brought deep grief and agony to the monks of this temple and the local community. 

However, thanks to the support the many members of this temple and the city of Sakata, the Sakata Buddha was reconstructed in 1992 and has stood watching over the city since to this day.

Note that in order to access here you need to cross through a gate.  You may enter freely but if you have a large group you are advised to check in with the temple just to let them know you will be entering.

This is also a playground, but you may enter even if there are kids in the yard.  Please be sure to close the gate though. 

The central garden of Jichi-in Temple

The interior of this temple is comprised of two primary halls.  One is where large prayers sessions are held, and the other is a long hall where the local residents pray to their family members at the hundreds of small shrines in this room.  

In Japan people sometimes have two graves. One in a graveyard and the second in small shrines in temples like Jichi-in.  Parts of their ashes or bones are actually kept inside these shrines as well.  

It is perfectly ok for you to enter this part of the temple and you may also take pictures here.  Just be sure to stay quiet, especially if there are people here making offerings to their family.

The temple also has dozens of large statues of buddha and various other deities. Many of these religious artifacts are treasures date back hundreds of years ago and it is a very rare opportunity to see them up close. 

One of the deity statues in Jichi-in

Access

Jichi-in Temple is very easy to access thanks to its convenient location right next to Sakata Station and the downtown area. 

You can generally walk to this temple from most tourist spots in Sakata or take a short ride to it.  

Note that this temple also has a kindergarten on its grounds, but you are free to enter even when school is in session.  

Here is the physical address of the temple: 1-4-38 Hiyoshicho, Sakata 998-0037 

The garden at the front of the temple

Zen Meditation

The monks of Jichi-in Temple welcome visitors to try Soto Zen Meditation in their temple through short introductory or longer meditation sessions.  These lessons are led by Munenori Otaki, the head monk of this temple.  Mr. Otaki speaks English and has said that he would be happy to walk visitors through the entire process of the meditation.

Experience Soto Zen Meditation

What's Included

Experience Soto Zen Meditation in Jichi-in through short or long meditation sessions.

Cost

500 yen per person

Experience Availability

All-year round

Average Duration

30 minutes -1 hour

Meeting Location

Jichi-in Temple

Important notes

We also ask that guests make their bookings at least 1 week in advance.
Experience availability may vary. Reserve to confirm availability.
Seats are also available for those who have trouble sitting on the ground.
Please notify us at least 3 days before if you must cancel or modify your reservation.

Reserve your Soto Zen Meditation today!

You can send a booking inquiry for your experience below. After we receive your inquiry, we will confirm the booking with our partners and send you a booking confirmation email at least 3 days before your desired date.
Please note this form does not confirm the availability of an experience or reserves an experience straightaway.

Cancelation policy

Our general cancelation policy for our experiences is below. Cancelation fees may vary according to exceptional circumstances.

3 days before

Free

2 days before

30% of experience cost

Day before

50% of experience cost

Day of

100% of experience cost