A highly unusual auction occurred last month when Enman-in temple (圓満院) in Otsu went on the auction block held by the Otsu District Court. It went to the highest bidder for 1.07 billion yen on May 26, 2009. The winning bidder is a religious group in Koka, Shiga. The name of the group was not revealed. (I hope it’s not some weird cult.)
What makes this highly unusual is that the temple includes a Japanese garden and Shinden hall designated as Important Cultural Properties. The temple was established in the 12th century. The Shinden hall was moved from the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1647.
The temple has had major financial problems with its cemetery business. The temple did go to the auction block twice before, but the winning bidder failed to come up with the money both times. Let’s see if this time the sale will go through. I’d like to know who bid. The only religious group I know in Koka who could afford it would be the one operating Miho Museum. Well, it certainly gives us an idea of how much an Important Cultural Property is worth. I wonder how much it would be if it were a National Treasure.
Well, if or when this temple is open to the public, I will visit it and upload photos here.
Japan Times article here: