Yamashina Mido

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Yamashina Mido, also known as Yamashina Hongan-ji, was a Buddhist temple in Kyoto which was used as a fortress by the Ikkô-ikki, a organization of warrior monks and lay zealots who opposed samurai rule.


The temple was originally founded by Rennyo, abbot of the Jôdo Shinshû sect whose preachings spurred the creation of the Ikkô-ikki. Following the 1465 destruction of the chief Jôdo Shinshû temple, the Hongan-ji in Kyoto, Rennyo spent roughly a decade in the provinces.

He returned to Kyoto in 1478; the construction of the Yamashina Mido was completed in 1483, becoming the center of the Jôdo Shinshû sect. Rennyo remained there for over a decade, leaving in 1496 and traveling to the area now known as Osaka, where he would found the Ishiyama Honganji.

Over the next several decades, the Yamashina Mido remained the central headquarters of the sect, even as the Ishiyama Honganji and the city of Osaka grew in size and prominence. In the 1530s, the Ikkô-ikki began to undertake attacks on major religious centers in the cities as other bands of Ikkô mobs had done against samurai rulers in the provices. The mobs attacked the Nichiren Kenpon-ji in Sakai, the Kôfuku-ji and Kasuga shrines in Nara, among other sites, and incurred the ire of both clergy and lay adherents to Nichiren and other sects.

Kyoto, meanwhile, had been in the process, for decades, of being rebuilt following the extensive destruction of the city in the Ônin War of 1467-1477. The rising urban merchant class consisted largely of adherents to the Nichiren sect of Buddhism, and tensions soon led to attacks on the Ikkô-ikki in the city. In 1532, Hosokawa Harumoto and Rokkaku Sadayori led a combination of samurai and townspeople in attacking and destroying the Yamashina Mido.

Shonyo, abbot of Yamashina, fled along with many of his followers, taking refuge in the Ishiyama Honganji. He successfully resisted another attack by Hosokawa there, and the Ishiyama Honganji remained the headquarters of the sect for almost fifty years.


  • Turnbull, Stephen (2005). 'Japanese Fortified Temples and Monasteries AD 710-1602.' Oxford: Osprey Publishing. pp9-10.