Introduction – Odani-ji Temple

The Buddha was a small figure with a faint smile.

It was when the front door of the housing was first opened. We temple followers had never seen the inside of the housing and had imagined for a very long time how the main Buddha would look. When the double-door was finally opened, a cute, pretty and charming statue appeared. We all were really impressed by its loveliness.

The statue had its right foot on its left knee and the right index finger held gently close to its face. Is it worrying about something by itself, or giving a smile to help us who are in trouble…?

It had been regarded as a “secret Buddha” for a few hundred years with the oral tradition that, once it is exposed to the public, water disasters will befall the villages. Time and circumstances have changed remarkably and the late priest passed into history. Since ten years ago, it is opened once yearly for seven days in November.

During this period many people, some from as far away as Kyushu, Hokkaido, Taiwan and Korea, come to see this Buddha. An elderly lady who comes every year says she is really looking forward to seeing the Buddha again for the rest of her earthly existence. Standing just in front of the Buddha, she presses her hands together and speaks soundlessly but with tears escaping her eyes.

“Kohoku”, the northern part of Shiga pref., from long ago is known as “Kannon Village”. Many “Kannon” (the Goddess of Mercy) wooden statues still remain here and there. Most of the residents are members of a different sect, “Shin-Shu”, but they respect each statue in spite of the other sect’s differing object of adoration. Even during the War Era period in the late 16th century, such as at the battle between Azai Nagamasa and Oda Nobunaga, they had preserved the statues by burying them in the earth to protect them from fire, although as a result some of the Buddhas lost the hands and some head parts that were cut off. In an area graced with such devout and merciful people, our Buddha has also been called a kind of “Kannon”.

However, ours is not like the others. The most typical difference is a bronze construction with an elegant shape. It may be categorized as “Hanka-Shii” (statue sitting contemplatively in the half lotus position) with an “Ancient Smile”. It really looks like the statues at Koryu-ji in Kyoto and Chugu-ji in Nara, which were made in the 7th century.

The pedestal has a mark suggesting an era in the late 15th century. Some experts say the statue itself would have been molded much earlier and the pedestal replaced later. Since it shows the typical features of the Buddha which was imported through the Korean Peninsula around the 7th century, some professors at Japanese and Korean universities have visited to check the statue and determine its true age.

Regardless of whenever and wherever the statue was made, it receives visitors who want to see and pray in front of the lovely Buddha. We followers hope that you, too, will come and stand in front of our Buddha who appears only once a year so that the sight of it may bless you with a peaceful mind.

Our Odani-ji Temple is located near the ruins of Odani Castle, ruled by Azai Nagamasa, the feudal lord in the northern part of Shiga in the War Era period in the late 16th century. Oichi, Nagamasa’s wife, would have worshipped many times at our temple with her three daughters, praying in front of the Buddha. A pine tree that is said to have been hand-planted by Oichi herself stood near the entrance gate, but was regrettably fallen by a typhoon nearly a decade ago and now we can only see its stump.

When I was a child, I ran around the tree and played in the yard. When I was a high school boy and went to Odani Castle ruins with ten or more classmates in the afternoon after the term-end exam was over, we parked our bicycles beside the tree. Through my camera lens I viewed and focused a girl classmate, shining dazzlingly against the tree in the evening sunlight. The sight is unforgettable.

Since Saint Taicho, who was a famous religious activist, is said to be the founder of our temple, too, the history dates back to thirteen hundred years. After surviving through good and bad times, it is now a small temple located secretly at the foot of Odani Mountain. We are all looking forward to seeing you during the annual opening times.

Odani-ji Temple Followers

Our Main Buddha Opening event in 2022:

From November 12 (Sat) to November 20 (Sun), 9:30 a.m. to 16:30 p.m.
Admission fee: 500 J. Yen per person


Ibe 329, Kohoku-Town, Nagahama-City, Shiga-Pref. 529-0313

*Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions about our main Buddha opening event to;


1) By car:
About 7 minutes from “Odani-jo Smart Inter” exit at Hokuriku-do. At the exit, turn left and drive 0.7km away. At the intersection (“Gujo”), turn right and drive 1.0km and turn left.

2) By JR train and on foot:
The nearest train station is “Kawake” at JR West Hokuriku-Line. The train service between “Maibara” and “Kawake” is available basically once an hour. It will take 35 to 40 minutes on foot from the station to our temple. The time simulation is;

10:05 10:21
11:01 11:18
12:01 12:18
13:01 13:18
13:22 13:42
14:22 14:42
15:22 15:42
16:22 16:42

3) By bicycle rental at JR Kawake Station:
There are some bikes available there. How about taking a ride on bike unless it is rainy or windy? About 2.3km away on almost flat road. Take care in particular when you pass through the route No.365.