Sofukuji Temple
Sofukuji Temple
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About
Built in 1629 for the city’s Chinese population, this famous Ming-style temple is the oldest building in Nagasaki.
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles164 reviews
Excellent
45
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82
Average
34
Poor
3
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ANParish
Busan, South Korea998 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
Another great sight Nagasaki has to offer, This temple is easily accessible by tram, but once you get there, you feel like you're far away from the city in many cases. It's got great views of the modern city below as well as traditional culture and religion with a heavy Chinese influence. It was surprisingly uncrowded and peaceful when we were there. There are so many halls and other buildings to explore. There's a small gift shop run by an old lady who is very interesting to talk to (if you know Japanese). A very different experience!
Written 5 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

petertaylor57
Auckland Central, New Zealand422 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
Pre-Covid, this Chinese temple used to be crawling with bus loads of tourists, which kind of destroyed the atmosphere. No one there when I went. Just an old woman in the shop bemoaning her lack of customers.
Nevertheless, bright red and gaudy, not your usual Japanese temple.
Written 27 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chuzaa
Vancouver, Canada3,485 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Couples
There are several Obaku Sect Buddhist (黄檗宗) temples in Nagasaki. The Obaku is a Zen sect once quite popular in China and the teaching was brought to Nagasaki with Chinese merchants from Fujian Province during the early Tokugawa (Edo) Period Japan. The Sofuku-ji Temple was founded by Priest Chounen (超然) in 1629 and the temple complex completed in 1635.

The bright red coloured buildings are still quite prominent amongst relatively dull coloured Japanese buildings in the neighbourhood. Though similarly wooden and heavy roof-tiled like any other Japanese temple buildings, the Chinese Buddhist temples are peculiar with their roof edges more curved upward. They also have many vertical banners with Chinese writings on building posts.

The main deities (Buddhist images usually carved out from wood) are usually common to those at the Japanese Buddhist temples, but the Chinese Buddhist temples almost always have their own ancestral deities as well. The Sofuku-ji Temple is no exception with its own Maso-den Hall building to accommodate Maso (媽祖Mazu), the goddess especially popular in Fujian Province in China.

They say the most important building of the temple is the second gate from the entrance. It is called the Daiichi Houmon (第一峰門) and was originally designed and the parts cut to the specifications in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province for sending them to Nagasaki. It was assembled in 1644 at this place and standing here ever since. The other important structure at this temple is the Daiyuhouden Hall (大雄宝殿), the main hall, completed in 1646. These are both designated as "National Treasures" of Japan.

It is a relatively small temple complex and it won’t take any more than 30-45 minutes to see them all. It is unnecessary to climb up the stone steps seen in the back section of the main hall as it only leads you to a graveyard with no meaningful views of Nagasaki.

A keeper of the small gift shop was quite willing to explain the concept of “paper money for the departed souls in the Heaven (or Hell)” and the several burning place for them in the temple complex. Looking at her name tag, we realized she was with Chinese background, but living in Japan for a long time.
Written 19 May 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SPAINDOCTOR
Madrid, Spain9,460 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Solo
is like 25 minutes walk from cruise port
but you can also take a taxi like 5 dollars
very nice temple and people
relaxed and good for meditation
not good for a person karma to see this painful places
I had been over 80 countries and more painful places
but this one I decided to see only from the outside
anyway if you want there is a bus that takes you there from cruise port

please vote and click if you find this opinion helpful since is a free contribution to help others
Written 20 June 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

J H
Guangzhou, China282 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Lots of steps to climb to really do and see just a little. But temples are like that. You can take a lot of beautiful pictures and enjoy the quietness of the scenery.
Written 4 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul7878
San Francisco, CA381 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Solo
I thought the temple is okay. Apparently, this temple is one of the few places that have cherry blossoms.
Written 6 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CatherineBulg
Moscow, Russia161 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Friends
Very peaceful and beautiful place with an emblematic red gates. On the temple complex’s territory’s you’ll find several buildings housing really outstanding statues. There is English brochure available that will give you some details about the history of Sofuku-ji and it’s main treasures.
By the way, you can combine Sofuku-ji with visits to some other temples situated along the same street uphill, roughly one after another. I would recommend to start with Sofuku-ji and then go ahead.
Written 28 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Oz4
Brisbane, Australia770 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Family
We spent a lovely morning wondering around the Sofukuji Temple and the cemetery at the back. The temple buildings are some of the oldest architecture in in Japan and apparently one of the best preserved examples of Ming Dynasty architecture in the world.

The background of the temple includes an interesting history of the original structure being made in China and shipped to Nagasaki to be constructed.

The buildings are grounds are in need of a some TLC as the buildings are a little run down. They are hundreds of years old so not to be too fussy but some simple maintenance (like painting) could be effective.

After making our way up the steep stairs, we really enjoyed walking around the cemetery. From up there you can also see contrast of the gates and walls of the Sofukuji temple against the very blocky, compltely functional style of the the more contemporary buildings in Nagasaki.
Written 11 September 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hfot2 🌸🍁🌸
Vermont7,547 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Couples
We take the #1 tram to the end of the line at Shokakuji-shita to get to Sofukuji Temple. It takes only about 15 mintues to reach the terminus from the JR station and our hotel. It’s a sweet little stop, tucked into a residential corner with a stream running nearby. We spot a sign that shows which way to go but the signage is absent after the tram stop, and you need to make a right soon after leaving the tram once on the main road.

We’re soon to the gate for Sofukuji Temple. It’s a fine start, a big and distinctive gate, the real deal, though, is the national treasure second gate, which is fantastically detailed over the door. There are stories of how it was made in China and shipped here to be reconstructed. We pay at the first gate, and then climb the slippery stairs. We arrive into what is said to be one of the best surviving examples of such a temple. It is indeed a fabulous place and reminds us of the many temples we visited in China. As we walk around the courtyard, a woman comes down the stairs from behind and beside the temple and encourages us to go up to see the Chinese graves (horizontal, she says, as opposed to the Japanese vertical). We climb the dicey stairs, find some graves that don’t look Japanese, and photo them, and we appreciate the opportunity for roof shots from above the temple. Then we go carefully back down for more looking about. The temple is lovely, though it does need work.
Written 22 June 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madhukar B
Mumbai, India9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018
We were on a cruise Shanghai back to Shanghai and this place in Nagasaki is one of the many beautiful sights in this port city. It is also easy to go to this place from the port by a local train. The architecture is so beautiful. The surrounding gardens are serene and well maintained.
Written 14 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Sofukuji Temple, Nagasaki

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