According to legend, Unko-ji Temple in Shimoijiri, Yamanashi City was founded in 1158 by Yasuda Yoshisada of the Kai Genji Clan. It was originally a temple of the Shingonshu sect converted to a Rinzai sect temple in 1395 by Zekkai Chushin, a priest of the Rinzai sect who was a leading disciple of Buddhist Master Muso Soseki. Stone towers called “Yasuda-shi Gorinto” (literally, “Five Towers of the Yasuda Family”) which stand on the east side of the temple entrance are registered as a Tangible Cultural Property of Yamanashi Prefecture. Of the three towers occupying the center position of the five towers, the middle tower is said to be a memorial tower for Yoshisada built in the late Kamakura Period (1185–1333). The tower on the left is a memorial tower for his son Yoshisuke, and the tower on the right a memorial tower for Yoshisue, built during the Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (439–589). Yoshisuke was defeated by Minamoto Yoritomo’s army in 1193, and his possessions were buried in Unko-ji Temple. When Yoshisada was also defeated in the following year, his and Yoshisue’s remains were also transferred to this location and buried in this temple. A Mokugyo fish gong dating back to 1397 is still being used by the temple today.


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