Originally established in the 10th century, Nyoirinji Temple (如意輪寺) is a quiet, medium sized temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism. Set apart from Yoshino’s other sites on the mountain slope opposite the town, Nyoirinji was where Emperor Go-Daigo worshipped after transferring his capital to Yoshino during the era when Japan had two competing Imperial Courts (1336-1392). Emperor Go-Daigo eventually died in Yoshino and his and his wife’s mausoleums are located along the forested slope just above the temple grounds.
Nyoirinji also has other structures including a tahoto style pagoda and a treasure house. The treasure house displays mandala, religious objects and artifacts from the Emperor Go-Daigo’s court. Also on display are several paintings depicting scenes of Kusunoki Masatsura, Go-Daigo’s loyal retainer, making a final prayer at Nyoirinji before departing to his eventual death defending the emperor from the rivaling Northern Court forces. Kusunoki and other defenders inscribed their names and a poem on the temple door, which is also on display.