Narita-san

Narita-san 成田山
Shinshō-ji 新勝寺
Naritasan-Shinshoji-Temple.Great-Main-Hall.jpg
Great Main Hall
Religion
AffiliationShingon
Location
Location1 Narita, Narita-shi, Chiba prefecture
CountryJapan
Architecture
Founderhttp://www.naritasan.or.jp

Narita-san (成田山 "Narita mountain") Shinshō-ji (新勝寺 "New victory temple") is a Shingon Buddhist temple located in central Narita, Chiba, Japan. It was founded in 940 by Kanchō Daisōjō, a disciple of Kōbō Daishi. It is a lead temple in the Chisan branch (Chisan-ha 智山派) of New Shingon (Shingi Shingon 新義真言宗), includes a large complex of buildings and grounds, and is one of the best-known temples in the Kantō region. It is dedicated to Ācala (Japanese: Fudō myōō ("Unmovable Wisdom King")) who is usually depicted holding a sword and rope and surrounded by flames.[1] Often called a fire god, he is associated with fire rituals.[2]

Founding

The temple was established in 940 to commemorate the victory of the forces dispatched from the Heian capital to suppress a revolt by the powerful Kantō region samurai, Taira no Masakado. The Shingon priest Kanchō accompanied the force, bringing with him an image of Acala from the Gomadō (Fire Offering Hall) of Takao-san Jingo-ji in Kyōtō. Shingon founder Kōbō Daishi himself was said to have carved the image and used it in Goma sacred fire rituals that helped stop a rebellion during his era. The rebellion in 940 also came to an end just as Kanchō completed a three-week Goma ritual with the same image.

According to legend, the image of Acala became too heavy after the victory to move back to its home base, so a new temple on Narita-san, named Shinshō-ji (New Victory Temple), was built to enshrine it on the spot.[1] The temple maintains that the original image is enshrined in the Main Hall, where it is displayed on special occasions, but art historians date the current image to no earlier than the 13th century.[3]