The temple of Shitennō-ji.


Shitennō-ji (四天王寺) is a Buddhist Temple said to have been constrcuted by Shōtoku Taisha in thanks to the ‘four heavenly kings’ he believed who had helped him win against the Mononobe Clan.

This temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and can be found in the city of Osaka, founded in 593AD.

Within the temple there is a ceremonial hawk-roost placed inside to commemorate the event when Taisha (who had transformed into a Hawk during this event) protected the temple against the spirit of the defeated Mononobe Moriya after his vengeful spirts turned into a flock of woodpeckers which began to hurl themselves to death against the temple.

Due to this event legends say that no woodpeckers can been seen at the temple anymore. This tale, and the legends which followed are narrated in the book known as the Genpei Seisuiki.1


1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: over Publications, Inc.

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