Information about Oiwasan Bishamonten

The statue of Bishamonten in Oiwasan Bishamonten

The Gohonzon will be unveiled during the New Year Goma-Training on the third day of the New Year and the Goma-Training on the first day of every month.

Outline of Oiwasan Bishamonten

It is said that Oiwasan Bishamonten was first opened by Shonin Gyoki in the 17th year of Tenpyo (745 A.D.) and dedicated to Bishamonten (Tamonten), a deity created by Prince Shotoku. Later, Emperor Shomu granted the temple a main hall, a sutra hall, a sanmon-gate, a bell-tower, a three-story pagoda, and twelve other halls, as well as the temple name, "Oiwasan-Tamonin-Saishoji-Temple.
Since then, it has become a major sacred mountain as a place to pray for the protection of the nation and to practice Shugendo (mountain asceticism), and has been worshipped by famous warlords such as the Ashikaga clan.
Since then, the Dharma lantern has been passed down through the faith of the people, but in 1447 (Bunnan 4), the various halls were destroyed by fire due to a lightning storm. The current Bishamonten main-temple was rebuilt in 1762 during the Edo period.
Bishamonten is one of the Four Heavenly Kings who protect the north, as well as a god of treasure and good fortune, and one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune.
Oiwasan Bishamonten is said to be one of the three most famous Bishamonten in Japan, along with Mt. Kurama in Kyoto and Mt. Shigi in Nara.

Origin and Histry of Oiwasan Bishamonten

Origin of the founding of the temple

the image of Prince Shotoku

In the reign of Emperor Shomu, Gyoki Shonin, while staying at Sugawara Temple in Yamato Province, always possessed a statue of Bishamonten (Vaisravana) made of Enbudagon (a type of gold) by Prince Shotoku, and vowed to go to the Kanto region to open a sacred site where he would enshrine this statue to save all sentient beings.
One night, an old man appears in a dream and tells him. Your prayer has been long in coming. There is a sacred mountain in Ashikaga, Kanto, and if you climb it, your prayers will be fulfilled. I am Sanno-gongen.
When Gyoki Shonin awoke from his dream, he prayed three times and firmly vowed that if his wish was fulfilled, he would surely make Sanno-gongen the guardian of the entire mountain. (This is the origin of the Sanno-sha, which still stands today.)
The Shonin believed in Zuiyumu and lived in Ashikaga County, far below Shimono, for one summer in peace, never neglecting to believe and practice the Dharma. (This is said to be the location of today's Ashikaga Gyoki-san Tokusho-ji Temple.) One night, a warrior in armor appeared to him and told him, "If you climb the mountain called Oiwa Mountain, which is north of here, you will be able to help all sentient beings. I am Tamonten-O (Bishamonten), as you believe. With these words, he disappeared with a flash of light. When Gyoki Shonin prayed three times and looked at the amulet, his mouth was slightly open and glowed faintly. Gyoki Shonin believed more and more, and as he entered the mountain ridge to the north as he had been told, a golden light immediately shone brightly and clearly, reflecting the inside of the mountain.
Unable to bear his joy, Gyoki Shonin used a statue of Bishamonten, which he had kept for a long time, and enshrined it on a board stone to make a temple out of dry thatch.
When Gyoki Shonin went to the capital to open the temple, he presented rare and auspicious objects of spiritual authority to the Emperor Shomu, who was extremely pleased. Gyoki Shonin became high priest in 745 and received the temple name "Saishoji Temple" (Oiwasan Tamoninin Saishoji Temple). In the following year, he built the main hall, sutra hall, Shakado hall, three-story pagoda, temple gate, Kaisando hall, bell tower hall, temple hall, and twelve monasteries (Kongo, Kakusei, Takamatsu, Dainichi, Chogen, Shorin, Kuroiwa, Tou refuge, Dabo, Daiko, Dairin, and Daigo), and received several lands for the temple.

Beliefs from Warlords

Bishamonten has been worshipped by numerous warlords and prayed for victory in battle. It is said that warlords such as Minamoto no Yoshie, Kamakura no Kagemasa, Ashikaga Yoshisuke, Ashikaga Takauji, and Ashikaga Yasushi were devotees of Oiwasan Bishamonten. Some of the treasures dedicated to the temple are still in existence.

Burned down, rebuilt and repaired

Since its opening in 745, the buildings of the temple have been repeatedly destroyed by fire due to lightning strikes and other causes, and then rebuilt.
In 1447, all the temples except the sanmon-gate were destroyed by fire in a lightning storm in May. It was later rebuilt. In 1757, the main temple was again destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in 1762.

Reconstruction and repair of the main building

The main temple was repaired three times in 1907, 1938, and 1993.

Repair of Sanmon gate

The sanmon gate was reconstructed in 1693 (Genroku 6) and 2005 (Heisei 17).

Statues of Bishamonten, Kichijoten and Zenninshi Dojii in the form of trinity

Statue of Bishamonten (designated as a cultural property by Tochigi Prefecture, sculpture)

 Bishamonten Statue, a cultural property designated by Tochigi Prefecture

Statues of Bishamonten

Statue height 180.0cm, shoulder width 34.0cm
The statue of Bishamonten at Oiwasan Bishamonten is a wooden parquet, said to have been made in the Kamakura period.
It is equipped with a multi-treasure pagoda in its right hand and a trident in its left, and it is trampling two evil demons at its feet.
Jade eyes are staring off into the distance, glaring with power between their eyebrows to destroy evil.
Although the hōrin in the back shows the style of the Heian period, the overall realism and toughness of the work is said to be characteristic of the Kamakura period.
It is said that there is no other statue in Tochigi Prefecture that can match the size and power of this Bishamonten statue.

Kichijoten, Zennishi-Doji (Sculpture designated as a cultural property by Tochigi Prefecture)

Bishamonten and Kichijoten, Zennishi-Doji

Kichijoten and Zennishi-Doji are considered to be the consort of Bishamonten and one of his sons, respectively.

  • Oiwasan Bishamonten Kichijoten Statue

    Statue of Kichijoten

    Kichijoten: Height 95.0cm, wooden, Kamakura period

  • Oiwasan Bishamonten Zennishi Doji Statue

    Statue of Zennishi-Doji

    Zennishi-Doji: Height 93.0cm, wooden, Kamakura period


Hyogyaraten Doji

The image of Hyogyaraten Doji is a grown-up version of the baby being held by Kishimojin. Holding a pomegranate in his left hand, he is a very rare Buddha figure, and is sister and brother to Bishamon's consort, Kichijoten. It is said that Kishimojin's mother, Kishimojin, who dredged up and ate other people's children, atones for her sins by offering unlimited blessings to those who seek her help.


Today it is a temple of the Toyozan School of Shingonshu-sect, and its head temple is Haseji in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture.
It is thought that there may have been a time when the temple was a Tendaishu-sect temple, as Sanno-gongen is still extant on the temple grounds.


Goma training

Goma training at Oiwasan Bishamonten

Origin of Goma-Training

The word "goma" is a transliteration of the Sanskrit word "homa," which means "to pour into a fire," "to offer," or "an offering. The word "homa" is found throughout Asia and is said to have a history of more than 3,000 years.

What is Goma-Training?

In this practice, a fire is lit in a wooden platform called a gomadan, and incense, grains, and other offerings are made to perform prayers.
The fire of the Goma-training can reach up to one meter in height. The flames deliver prayers, burn away afflictions, and purify the body and soul.

Goma Training at Oiwasan Bishamonten

At Oiwasan Bishamonten, Goma-training is held every morning at 5:30 a.m., on the first day of every month, and from the first to the third day of the New Year.

Go to Goma Training Page at Oiwasan Bishamonten

Registration is available at the reception desk in the main-temple. Please take off your shoes at the front of the main-temple and put them in the shoe box before entering the temple.
At Oiwasan Bishamonten, when you participate in the Goma-training, if you have any items you wish to purify, such as your wallet, driver's license, or prayer beads, we will place them over the fire of the Goma and bless them. You can also apply the fire to your body and receive purification and blessings directly. Please let us know when you register.
We also accept goma prayers for groups such as companies and sports teams. Please inquire in advance.
In addition, a printout of a portion of the sutra recited during the goma-training will be provided.
Please join us in reading the sutra.

Prayer Details

The following prayers are offered at Oiwasan Tamonin Saishoji Temple during the Goma training:

  • commemoration of one's ancestors
  • peace and prosperity in the household
  • rush of business
  • business prosperity
  • safety (well-being) of one's employees
  • traffic safety
  • academic success
  • prayer for school success
  • sound health
  • correcting a patient's condition by correcting his or her own illness
  • feigned ignorance
  • prevent going senile
  • Praying for a Good Cause
  • prayer for a childbirth
  • prayer for safe childbirth
*The above is just one example. If you have any other prayer requests, please feel free to contact us.

Red Seal of Oiwasan-Bishamonten

Red Seal of Oiwasan-Bishamonten
Red seals are available at the main temple of Oiwasan-Bishamonten.
Fee: 300 yen

Slide show of the main hall of Oiwasan Bishamonten

Slide animation of the photos of the main temple of Oiwasan Bishamonten

View a slideshow of the interior of the main-temple of the Oiwasan-Bishamonten.

Events, Festivals

Goma Training

Every morning: 5:30 a.m.
First day of each month: 5:30am 10:00am 1:30pm

Go to Goma-Training Page

Akutai Matsuri (The festival of saying something bad thing), Lantern Procession

First Goma Training and Takinagashi-no-shiki

New Year's Day Sunrise Worship Ceremony

New Year's Day, approx. 6:50 a.m.~
Oiwa Bishamonten will hold a New Year's Day sunrise far worship ceremony from around 6:50 a.m. on New Year's Day after the 6:00 a.m. goma-training is completed. The ceremony will be held at Oiwasan East Park.
Please come to the front of the main temple around 6:30 a.m. to be guided to our venue.。

Go to the video of New Year's Day sunrise far worship ceremony

New Year's Special Goma Training

New Year's Day
6:00, 8:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
New Year's Day 2nd and 3rd
10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00

Setsubun Goma Training to drive out evil spirits

February 3
5:30 a.m.

Spring Grand Festival Goma Training

April 1
5:30 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 1:30 p.m.

Autumn Grand Festival Goma Training

Octorber 1
5:30 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 1:30 p.m.

Facilities on the grounds of Oiwasan Bishamonten

  • Main temple
    • Ema (Ashikaga City-designated cultural property, Folk cultural property: "Ema and votive tablet in the main-temple of Oiwasan-Bishamonten")
    • Statue of Bishamonten (Designated by Tochigi Prefecture / Sculpture)
    • Kichijo-ten, Zennishi-doji (Tochigi Prefectural Designated Cultural Property / Sculpture)
    • Hyogyaraten-doji
  • Sanno-Gongen-Sha-Shrine (largest of the four main Shinto shrines of Japan)
  • Daikokuten-sha-Shrine, Inarijinja-Shrine, Nishinomiya-Jingu-Shrine
  • Kano Gongen
  • Sanmon-gate
  • Kongo-Rikishi-Standing-Statue (Nio-Statue) (Ashikaga City Designated Cultural Asset / Sculpture)
  • Bell-Tower
  • Stone-stairs (Ashikaga City Designated Cultural Properties/Historical Materials)
  • Sacred-Tree (Ashikaga City's designated cultural property/natural remembrance)
  • Warmland Plant Habitat (Ashikaga City Important Cultural Asset/Natural Monument)
  • Stone Layered Pagoda (Tochigi Prefecture Designated Cultural Properties/Archaeological Data)
  • Otokozaka and Onnazaka (the aproaches to the temple)

Go to the precincts information page of Oiwasan Bishamonten

Video showing the precincts of the main hall of Oiwasan Bishamonten

<Video showing the precincts of the main temple of Oiwasan Bishamonten>

You can see a video of sanmon gate (Nioumon-gate), stone stairs, sacred tree, bell tower, main temple, Sanno-gongen-sha-shrine, and Kano Gongen in the precincts of Oiwasan Bishamonten.

Oiwasan Bishamonten VR Tour

  • Click on the image above to see the scenery starting from the sky above Mt. Oiwa.
  • Clicking on the link displayed above the spherical panoramic photo will take you to spherical panoramic photos of the sky and the ground of the mountain path of Mt. Oiwa, the precinct of Saishoji-temple and Oiwasan-Bishamonten , and tourist spots scattered around Ashikaga City.
  • By operating the buttons located at the top of the screen, you can rotate left/right/up/down, enlarge/reduce the screen, switch VR mode, display full screen, etc.
  • VR mode provides a three-dimensional experience when viewed with VR goggles.
  • The map display at the top left of the screen can be enlarged or reduced, and the map can be switched, allowing you to check the registered spherical panoramic photo location, viewing direction, and visible range.
Aerial VR tour of the main temple of Saishoji, Oiwasan Bishamonten