Ekiho Miyazaki, abbot of Eiheiji Temple in Fukui Prefecture, died Saturday morning, officials said. He was 106.
The cause of death was not immediately known.
A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Miyazaki became the 78th abbot of Eiheiji Temple, one of Japan’s oldest Zen Buddhist temples, in September 1993. Miyazaki, the oldest religious leader in Japan, had been hospitalized since last month.
Eiheiji Temple, a head temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism in the Sea of Japan coast prefecture, was established in 1244 by Dogen (1200-1253). Dogen founded the Soto sect, one of Japan’s two major Zen Buddhist sects along with the Rinzai sect.