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Kodenji Temple 高伝寺

Kodenji Temple Kodenji Temple
Kodenji Temple Kodenji Temple

The Zen temple where Yamamoto Tsunetomo wrote the Hagakure—The Way of the Samurai

Situated off a main road amid a small bamboo forest, around three kilometers southwest of the city center, is the secluded Zen temple of Kodenji. It was here that Yamamoto Tsunetomo is said to have shaved his head following the death of the Mitsushige Nabeshima, the second lord of the domain. He renounced his samurai status, and took up the austere practice of Zen under the 11th abbot of Kodenji Temple, Tannen Ryocho.

It is also where he wrote a book that's been quoted in films and admired by many. Martial arts fans should stop by in respect. This Zen temple associated with the Nabeshima family is a crossroads of stunning plum blossoms and ancient history.

Don't Miss

  • The "Christian Lantern," which is a 17th-century stone lantern engraved by the first Dominican friar allowed entry into the Saga Domain
  • The 700 or so plum trees at their peak from mid-February to early March, and the Reitoku Jubai plum tree, designated as a natural monument by Saga City
  • The great Nehanzu painting of Kodenji, shown to the public on April 19 until late May

How to Get There

From Saga Station, go to the bus center and take a bus to the Kodenjimae stop. It's around 10 minutes. From there, it's about 3 minutes by foot.

An faster alternative would be a taxi from Saga Station, which will take about 10 minutes.

A painting of Buddha reclining

If you happen to be there on April 19 to late May, you'll have the chance to view one of Japan's largest Nehanzu, or paintings of the famed reclining Buddha. The painting stands 16 meters high, six meters wide, and is over 300 years old. Other temple treasures are put out on display as well.

The latest information may differ, so please check the official website.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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