Sojiji Temple is the second head temple of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism and is one of the biggest and most famous Buddhist temples in Japan.
Originally, Sojiji was a Shingon Buddhist temple and was built in 740. In 1321 the temple was renamed Sojiji by the great patriarch Keizan (Taiso Josai Daishi) who improved it greatly with the help of Emperor Go-Daigo.
The temple was located in Noto Province (today the northern part of Ishikawa Prefecture) but in 1898, a fire destroyed almost every buildings of Soji-ji, so it was rebuilt in Kanagawa prefecture in Yokohama city, closer to the capital Tokyo.
In 2007, an earthquake considerably damaged the temple, and some of its building are still undergoing repairs.
There are more than a dozen significant buildings inside the compound of this spacious (around 67,000 square meters) important temple, which still today attracts many worshippers and monks-in-training.Like many temples in Japan, buildings at Sojiji are connected by long covered corridors.
One of the main attraction of Sojiji is the Butsu-den or Main Buddha’s Hall, located in the heart of the temple compound. The Sanmon or Inner Gate and the Koshakudai, the priests living quarters are also a must see.
Dosho Saikawa Roshi, the Head of the international department at Sojiji Temple is responsible for laymen's Zen meditation training in the temple. Saikawa Roshi, who speaks excellent English, opens Sojiji temple’s dojo (training hall) on Sundays to foreign living in Japan and to everyone interested in learning about Zen.