Nakayamadera temple is located 100 meters above sea level, on the east side of Mt. Aoba, and belongs to Shingon sect (Omuro school)
According to the ancient documents, Nakayamadera temple was founded by Daitoku Taichou Daishi(known as an opener of Mt.Hakusan,)in 807(Nara period).
The main building (Hondou) was re-built in 1343(Muromachi period)(with a gabled, hipped roof, covered with cypress bark.) and is designated as a national important cultural property. Inside of the building It is consisted of three parts, (Naijin ,Gejin, Wakijin) which is a special feature of Shingon sect. The cabinet (with double doors to store the principal image of Buddha) was made in 1561 and is designated as a national important cultural property.
The principal image of Buddha (Batou-kannon, Hayagriva),(79.3cm height, the preferred wood of cypress, late Kamakura period) is designated as a national important cultural property) and it has been gathering faith for a long time as a guardian Buddha for maritime traffic safety.
This Buddha has three faces, eight arms, upper body of horse on head, Tathagata (Nyorai) image on both sides, and sitting on a lotus flower provided pedestal. making symbolic sign with fingers for Hayagriva.
It is said that this image was made by a famous sculpture of Buddhist statues, Tankei. It is a secret image of Buddha, and to be opened to the public every 25 years, and next open is scheduled in 2028.
There are some Hayagrivas around Mt.Aoba and it is said that they were enshrined by the local sea people to pray for the maritime traffic safety.
At the temple gate, there are two Deva King images (Kongou rikishi)by Tankei, and they are designated as national important cultural properties. They were exhibited at the British Museum in London in 1991, and were highly praised.
There are also many images besides these, such as Acala(Fudo-myoou) and Vaisravana(Bisyamon-ten),(late Kamakura period(1185-1333),designated as cultural properties of Takahama town.)
Through these cultural properties in Nakayamadera, you can figure out the local people's great faith, and also the history of the trade between this Wakasa area and the continent.
You can see two own-hand writings of Sun Yat-sen(Chinese great revolutionary) and Lu Xun(Chinese famous literary person) in a building(Jibutsu-dou) near the main building. It was a great honor to receive a visit from the Crown Prince Hironomiya in 1983, and the room is kept as it was.
In the temple grounds, there is a tea-room named Bouyou-an(ocean view hermitage). The original one was built in Edo-period (1603-1868), and the current one was rebuilt in 2010.
This is a chair-style tea ceremony room (Ryurei-siki), so everyone (foreigners or beginners) can enjoy authentic tea ceremony comfortably.