In 1496, memorial tablets representing the kings of the Ryūkyū Kingdom were installed in the temple, establishing it as a royal mausoleum. Anyone entering the temple grounds, including the king himself, had to dismount and enter the temple on foot out of respect for the prior sovereigns. The temple grounds were expanded at this time as well, with the construction of the massive stone gates and walls which remain today. Though these royal memorial tablets continued to be enshrined in the Sōgen-ji for many centuries, beginning in 1521, the actual royal remains were entombed in the Tamaudun mausoleum completed that year a short distance from Shuri Castle.
All the temple buildings were destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945; only the stone walls and gates, foundations and steps, and some tablets and steles survived. Of two stone tablets erected outside the gates warning visitors to dismount, one remains today. The site is today a public park.
- For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, and Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism.
- Kerr, George H. (2000). Okinawa: the History of an Island People. (revised ed.) Boston: Tuttle Publishing.
- Plaque at site.