Attraction 48 Eikandocho Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8445 Japan Published on: 28-02-2016
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Why Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji is special ?
Eikan-do Temple, officially known as ShujuraigousanMuryojuinZenrin-ji Temple, is the main temple of the Seizan branch of Japanese Jodo-shu sect of Zen Buddhism, located in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city, just north of the Nanzen-ji Temple. in 853 the monk Shinsho (797-873), a high disciple of Kukai(774-835, the founder of Shingon-shu sect and known as Kobo-Daishi), bought the mansion of Fujiwara-no-Sekio to build a temple for the worship of the "GochiNyorai" (Five Wisdom Buddhas). in 863 he was granted a permission to found a temple and received its name "Zenrin-ji" from Emperor Seiwa. Eikan-do Temple is also known as a famous spot for viewing autumn leaves and called the "Eikando in Maple Leaves". during the foliage season its beautiful garden filled with about 3,000 colorful maple trees. also, the temple is opened and its garden is illuminated in the evening during the temple's light up event. many people visit the temple to enjoy the beautiful foliage and the special illuminations.
What to explore at Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji?
Eikando's main buildings are built alongside the base of the hillside and are connected by wooden corridors. The first building that visitors enter is the Shakado (Hall of the historical Buddha) with a small rock garden and beautifully painted sliding doors (fusuma). Walking through the corridors, visitors also pass by the Miedo which enshrines the Jodo sect's founder Honen and the Amidado (Amida Hall) which houses the temple's principal object of worship, the sideward facing Amida statue.
Eikando's most recognizable building, however, is its Tahoto Pagoda, which is nestled in the trees on the hillside above the temple's other buildings. Tahoto style pagoda are two story structures, whose first stories are square and second stories are round. Visitors can walk up to the pagoda, from where the rest of the temple grounds and the city of Kyoto can be seen. The view from the pagoda is particularly attractive in autumn, when the maple trees of the temple grounds are changing colors.
Another attractive spot during the fall is the Hojo Pond, around which an attractive garden has been cultivated. Small streams run through the temple grounds and connect to this main pond, at the center of which is a small shrine on an island. Autumn colors are usually best in the second half of November, when the temple is opened in the evening for special illuminations.
How to get to Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji?
Eikando is a 15-20 minute walk from the nearest subway station, Keage Station on the Tozai Line (20 minutes, 260 yen by subway from Kyoto Station via Karasuma-Oike), or a five minute walk from the nearest bus stop, Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop (35 minutes, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus number 5).
48 Eikandocho Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8445 Japan
Tips for you
There is a general direction in which people go through the temple halls including a rock garden by Shaka-do/Hall of Buddha, Mie-do/Honen Shrine, and a sideways facing Buddha in Amida-do/Amida Hall, and end up with a nice view of the Hojo pond and bridge. This Temple site comprises many buildings and has been modernized recently and includes an elevator, toilets with all the controls including heated seats and sophisticated security and surveillance systems.Service
This Temple is a must see when in Kyoto. It is large and multi-facetted in its purpose as besides being a religious Temple the site also is headquarters for this particular sect. This Temple site comprises many buildings and has been modernized recently and includes an elevator, toilets with all the controls including heated seats and sophisticated security and surveillance systems. My visit was on 17 February and most of the trees were barren but the grasses and miss were green. I imagined what the grounds would look like in spring and they would be beautiful. As for the Temples and Shrines there are lots and they are spectacular in the opulence and a joy to see. Visitors are guided by a walking path one way, at least on the day of my visit and I had to backtrack the same route on the way back. Perhaps in others day it is more circular to to improve traffic flow. But on my visit day there were perhaps 50 people visiting just after lunch. Highly Recommended as one of my top 10 in Kyoto.
The best temple I'd like to recommend. Though admission fee is the highest as ¥1,000 among other major temples, but obviously truly worth it. No regret. In my case, even better than Kiyomizudera. Make sure to walk up to the pagoda, the view is spectacular!
I loved Eikan-do. Mainly because there weren't many tourists here and it seemed like I could just venture into whatever part of the place I wanted to. It's a pretty large temple and you're allowed access into most buildings here. There's a good view when you climb all the way up to the pagoda. Free green tea is also self-dispensed.