Myōryūji was our first sight in Kanazawa. This temple looks unassuming from the outside but on the inside it is a completely different story. It features an array of defence measures inside including trick doors, hidden rooms and corridors, traps, and multiple escape routes. This has led the temple to be nicknamed the Ninja Temple (Ninjadera), even though it has no historical connection to ninjas.
The actual history of Myoryuji with its unique architecture and connection to important historical figures makes this a very significant building in Kanazawa. It was built by the third daimyo of the Kaga Domain (now modern day Kanazawa), Maeda Toshitsune. The design of the building with all its hidden defence features came about to combat the Tokugawa Shogunate’s strict building restrictions which were designed to weaken the power of daimyos.
Photos aren’t allowed inside Myoryuji but it wouldn’t be any fun if we knew all the secrets of this building. Our tour members were able to successfully escape from the temple and continue exploring Kanazawa!