Mibu-dera Temple

Mibu-dera Temple © Iry

History of Mibu-dera Temple

Mibu-dera Temple was founded in the year 991 by the Mii-dera Temple monk, Kaiken. It was long called Jizo-in Temple and was prosperous due to the devotion to the Jizobosatsu amulet in the main hall. It was destroyed by fire in 1257 but was revived by holy priest, Engaku Shonin. Engaku began the Mibudainenbutsu Kyogen, the origin of Mibu Kyogen (Noh farce performed in Mibu temple). Mibu Kyogen is a form of traditional performance art that started in 1300 and still exists today.

What is Mibu Kyogen?

Mibu Kyogen is a traditional play or performance. In the age when there were no microphones, there was a limit in preaching Buddhism to large crowds. Engaku began preaching the teachings of Buddha through these silent dramatic performances. As the times changed, so did the style of these performances. Though the entertainment value has increased over time, the basics remain the same: performers wearing masks, gesturing and moving to the sound of the flute and drums, representing characters of good and evil. At its basic level, it is still a Shukyogeki (Religious drama).

Mibu Kyogen can only be seen at certain times of the year. Specifically, 3 times a year for a total of 12 days. Spring: April 29 to May 5 Autumn: October's 3-day holiday Setsubun: 2 days of Setsubun holiday in February Tickets can't be purchased or reserved in advance, only day-of-performance tickets are sold. This may make it a bit difficult for tourist to attend, however, if visitors have an opportunity to do so, it would be a rare and valuable experience. The Mibu Kyogen has been designated as a nationally important folk cultural tradition.

Shinsengumi Tonsho Military Post

There is one more feature to Mibu-dera Temple. By the order of the Edo period shogunate at the end of the end of the Edo period, Mibu-dera Temple became the military post of the Shinsengumi security force. Because of their use of force, sometimes harming even innocent citizens, their reputation was poor in Kyoto, however, they have high recognition as a symbol of the end of the Edo period and the confusion of the times. Mibu-dera Temple has a bust of Kondo Isami, swordsman and official of the late Edo Period, famed for his role as commander of the Shinsengumi, as well as graves of soldiers. It is a popular temple for history fans.


7 minute walk from Omiya Station on the Hankyu Train.

Image Gallery: Mibu-dera Temple

Description: Mibu-dera Temple

Sights Mibu-dera Temple (壬生寺)
Address 604-8821 Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku,Bojo Bukkoijo-kita-iru
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-841-3381 / Fax: 075-841-4481
Duration 30Minutes
Business Hours Monday:08:00-17:00
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Free admission
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Mibu-dera Temple