The spiritual heart of Soja City

Bitchu Kokubunji Temple

soja city, okayama prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photographer | Takuma Kimura


Established in the year 741, Bitchu Kokubunji Temple is part of the Shingon tradition of Buddhism, holding Yakushi Nyorai or the Medicine Buddha as the object of worship.

The beacon that brings visitors to Kokubunji is the stunning 5-storey pagoda that reaches 34.32 meters into the sky. It is a gathering place for festivals and events held throughout the year such as the Lotus Festival which takes place at the end of April.

As impressive as the Kokubunji’s pagoda is, there are nearby ruins of an earlier structure from the Nara period which reportedly consisted of 7-storeys and reached a height of 50 meters. As that structure was claimed by fire, the construction of the pagoda that stands today was begun in 1821.

One of the best views of Kokubunji is from the road that leads into Soja City from Kurashiki City. At any time of the day throughout the year, it makes for the perfect snapshot.


About the Area

Soja is an inland city in southwestern Okayama Prefecture. It is borders the cities of Okayama, Kurashiki, Takahashi and Ibara and the towns of Kibichuo and Yakage. This unique geographic position has meant that the city has always been deeply intertwined in regional cultural and political affairs.

With a name that literally means “all shrines”, it would be easy to assume that the city contains a lot of them and you would be correct. However, in many ways, Soja is very much a temple town, in that there are two major ones near the city center.

One of the most interesting parts of the city is the old shopping street that runs parallel to Route 180. There, you will find clues to life in the Meiji era in the stories told through its homes and storefronts.


Access: From JR Okayama Station, take the JR Hakubi or JR Kibi Line to JR Soja Station. It is about a 20 minute bicycle ride from JR Soja Station (rentals available). Alternatively, take a 10 minute taxi ride from JR Soja Station.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee