Eikan-do Zenrin-ji temple is a Buddhist temple located in the eastern hills of Kyoto, Japan.
The temple is known for its stunning autumn foliage, the temple was founded in 853 AD by the monk Shinsho, and it has been an important center of Buddhist learning and practice ever since.
It is spread across a large area and includes several buildings and gardens. One of the most famous buildings is the Amida Hall, which houses a statue of Amida Buddha.
The hall is known for its beautiful ceiling paintings and intricate wood carvings. Another highlight of the temple is the Hojo Garden, which features a pond and a waterfall surrounded by lush greenery.
Eikan-do Zenrin-ji temple is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Kyoto, Japan.
It was founded in 853 by a monk named Shinsho, who was a disciple of the famous monk Kukai. Originally, the temple was named Zenrin-ji, which means “temple of the forest of Zen.”
The temple was built on the slopes of Mount Yoshida, which is known for its beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring. Over the centuries, the temple has undergone many renovations and additions.
In the 12th century, a new main hall was built, which is still standing today. In the 16th century, a famous Zen master named Gudo Toshoku added a new meditation hall and other buildings.
It has a rich history and has been associated with many famous figures throughout the centuries. In the 17th century, the temple was visited by the famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho, who wrote about the temple in his travel diary.
In the 19th century, the temple was visited by the famous artist and printmaker Hiroshige, who created a famous woodblock print of the temple.
Today, Eikan-do Zenrin-ji temple is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beautiful gardens, which feature a large pond, a waterfall, and many beautiful trees and flowers. The temple is also known for its famous autumn foliage, which attracts many visitors each year.
Known for its unique and beautiful architecture, the temple was originally built in the 9th century and has undergone several renovations and additions over the years. The current buildings date back to the 17th century and are considered some of the finest examples of Japanese architecture.
The main hall of the temple, called Amida-do, is a designated National Treasure of Japan. It features a stunning wooden statue of Amida Buddha and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and ponds. The hall is built in the traditional Japanese architectural style, with a sloping roof and wooden beams that are intricately carved and painted.
Another notable building at Eikan-do Zenrin-ji is the Tahoto Pagoda. This two-story pagoda is also a designated National Treasure and is one of the few remaining examples of its kind in Japan. The pagoda is built entirely of wood and features intricate carvings and decorations.
The temple grounds also include several smaller buildings, such as the Jodo Hall and the Miedo Hall. These buildings are also built in the traditional Japanese architectural style and feature beautiful gardens and artwork.
The gardens are spread over a large area and are designed in a way that allows visitors to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the beauty of nature.
One of the most famous features of the gardens is the large pond, which is home to a variety of fish and turtles. Visitors can walk along the edge of the pond and take in the stunning views of the surrounding scenery.
There are also several small bridges that cross the pond, offering a unique perspective of the gardens.
The gardens are also home to several different types of trees, including cherry blossom, maple, and pine trees. Depending on the time of year, visitors can enjoy the beautiful colors of the changing leaves or the delicate pink blossoms of the cherry trees.
In addition to the natural beauty of the gardens, there are also several man-made features that add to the overall ambiance. Stone lanterns, pagodas, and statues can be found throughout the gardens, creating a sense of tranquility and peace.
Festivals and Events
Eikan-do Zenrin-ji temple is home to several festivals and events throughout the year. These events are a great way to experience the cultural traditions of Japan and immerse yourself in the local community.
One of the most popular events is the autumn foliage festival. This festival takes place in November when the leaves on the maple trees turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Visitors can stroll through the temple grounds and admire the stunning scenery while enjoying traditional Japanese snacks and tea.
Another popular event is the New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony. This ceremony takes place on December 31st and involves ringing the temple bell 108 times to symbolize the elimination of 108 worldly desires. Visitors can participate in the ceremony and enjoy traditional New Year’s foods such as mochi and soba noodles.
Visiting Eikan-do Zenrin-ji temple is a must-do activity for anyone traveling to Kyoto. Here’s what you need to know before you go:
Hours: The temple is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Admission: The entrance fee is 600 yen for adults and 400 yen for children.
Getting there: Eikan-do Zenrin-ji is located in the Sakyo Ward of Kyoto, about a 20-minute walk from the Keage subway station. Alternatively, you can take the number 5 or 100 bus from Kyoto Station and get off at the Eikando-michi stop.
It’s also along the Philosopher’s Path walking route so if you are up for a stroll this is the perfect way to get there.
Tours: Guided tours are available in English, Japanese, and other languages for an additional fee. These tours offer a more in-depth look at the temple’s history and significance.
Accessibility: The temple grounds are hilly and there are some steep stairs, so visitors with mobility issues may have difficulty navigating the area. However, there are plenty of benches and rest areas throughout the temple grounds where visitors can take a break.
Etiquette: Visitors to Eikan-do Zenrin-ji are asked to remove their shoes before entering the temple buildings. In addition, photography is not allowed inside the buildings and visitors are asked to be respectful of the temple’s peaceful atmosphere.
Overall, Eikan-do Zenrin-ji is a beautiful and serene temple that is well worth a visit. Be sure to plan your visit accordingly and come prepared with comfortable shoes and an open mind.