The secluded temple offer peaceful surroundings

Hofuku-ji Temple


Located in a secluded section of Soja City, Hofuku-ji Temple is dedicated to the Rinkai School of Zen Buddhism. Founded during the Kamakura period (1185 – 1333), the temple played an important role as a religious center and school.

One of its most famous students was the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573) master painter and Zen priest Sesshu. Legend has it that when he was a child he was sent to study at Hofuku-ji Temple by his family.

Apparently, Sesshu did not take to the rigors of religious training and preferred to spend his time sketching. Angered by his lack of focus, a temple priest punished Sesshu by tying him to a post. Saddened, the young boy wept alone in the dark.

On his return to check on Sesshu, the priest who had bound him was startled to see a mouse near the boy’s leg. What the priest thought was a mouse was actually a drawing crafted from tears and a bit of charcoal from the floor. It was at this moment that the scope of Sesshu’s true talent began to be understood and allowed to bloom.

In commemoration of its most famous pupil, there is a statue of the young Sesshu on the grounds in the seated position that he is so well known for.

Hofuku-ji Temple is also notable for its fiery vermillion three-tiered pagoda that sits splendidly on grounds lined with beautiful trees. Also, Zen meditation workshops are open to the public and all are welcome to participate in annual events such as viewing the changing colors of autumn leaves.


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 Line to JR Soja Station. Take the Chutetsu Soja Bus (Kanbara Line) to the Tatai bus stop. It is about a 15 minute walk to the temple. Alternatively, you can take an 8 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