The Koyasan for Women, Murouji Temple of Nara Prefecture
Murouji is a mountain temple located at the foot of Mt. Murou. Believed to be associated with the Dragon God (Naga: the god of water), this area has been regarded as a place of worship since ancient times and is the head temple of the Murouji Sect of Shingon Buddhism. Murouji is believed to have been built in the 8th century. In contrast to Koyasan where only men were admitted for Buddhist training, Murouji welcomed female worshippers. This is why Murouji is called ‘Nyonin Koya (Women’s Koya).’ Murouji has multiple National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties including the Five-storied Pagoda, which was built approximately 1000 years ago. It is known as the smallest outdoor five-storied pagoda in Japan. Murouji attracts visitors with beautiful natural scenery throughout the year: pink rhododendrons in spring, dazzling fresh green in early summer, flamboyant maple leaves in autumn, and snowy scenery in winter. In autumn, the temple looks stunning surrounded by enchanting colored leaves, which attracts many visitors from all over Japan.