“Kenninji Temple” in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto that conveys Zen. The temple opened by Eisai, a monk who has been trained in China, is still loved by many tourists even now, more than 800 years ago. Visiting the simple and sophisticated precincts of a Zen temple is like purifying your heart.
There are plenty of spots where you can shoot, such as “Fujin Raijin-zu byobu” (The folding screens of Wind God and Thunder God) and “Soryu-zu” (drawing of two dragons) drawn on the ceiling of the Buddhist temple. There are also gardens such as “Daiouen Garden” and “Chouontei Garden” where you can feel the beauty of nature.
“Kenninji Temple” is nicknamed “Kennen-san” by locals. As a symbol of its long history, it has many works including paintings that are precious enough to be selected as a national treasure and an important cultural property. It is also a temple with many excellent works, buildings such as Buddhist temples and gates, sub-temples, branch temples and other must-see spots.
Most of the buildings at the time of its construction were destroyed by fire due to the Onin war and the fire that came in 1397. Although it declined for a while, it was rebuilt by Ankokuji Ekei, a monk from the Sengoku period to the Azuchi Momoyama period. In the Edo period, it was revitalized by receiving the protection of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and now it is gathering the faith of many people as the main headtemple of the Rinzai Sect Kenjinji school.
The Higashiyama area where Kenninji Temple is located is the area around Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto. It is a place where you can see Kyoto’s representative shrines and temples such as Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Heian Shrine and Ginkakuji Temple built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th general of the Muromachi Shogunate.
A 40-minute walk will take you from JR Kyoto Station, the base for sightseeing in Kyoto, but you can also access it by Kyoto City Bus, subway, or Keihan Railway. One of the attractions of Higashiyama is that it is very convenient for public transportation.
It is located near Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, where you can enjoy local cuisine unique to Kyoto and souvenir shops, Gion where you can meet geisha and maiko, and Sanjo, where commercial and entertainment facilities stand. After visiting the Kenninji Temple, it is conveniently located for sightseeing around the area.
“Fujin Raijin-zu byobu” being designated as a national treasure
Kennin-ji Temple is located in the immediate vicinity of the ornate Gion, the head temples of the Rinzai sect Kenji temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. It is opened by Eisai Zen master who was the founder of Rinzai sect and boasts the third formality in Kyoto Gozan (the five great Zen temples of Kyoto). There are many sub-temples in the vast precincts and it is famous for possessing many cultural assets including “Fujin Raijin-zu byobu” (The folding screens of Wind God and Thunder God).
The premises of Kennin-ji Temple are wide and the temple buildings are magnificent.
Just a round of the temple buildings, it will take some time. Because Kennin-ji Temple was often hit by battle, the building of the time of construction was not left. However, from the end of Warring States Period to the Meiji era, the temple was settled by rebuilding and relocation from other temples. Many buildings are designated as important cultural assets, which is worth a visit.
Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, owns a lot of Temple treasure. Especially famous is “Fujin Raijin-zu byobu” which is designated as a national treasure. Currently, the folding screen that is on display at Kennin-ji Temple is an elaborate replica, but still it has a powerful beauty from the golden appearance that is lighted up. In addition, a lot of “Fusuma-e” (sliding screen paintings) and soryu-zu (drawing of two dragons) drawn on the ceiling of Hatto (Lecture Hall) are a must-see.
It seems that you usually see the picture of the national treasure grade in a museum, but you can see it while keeping its state as Momoyama era facing the garden which is widely opened in the Kennin-ji temple.
Thanks to a high definition digital replication technology, they realized such a thing as one of the commemorative projects of 800 years from the death of Eisai Zenji.
Without worrying about deterioration by ultraviolet rays or the dust, you can confront a picture at this Japanese place in the present age
The figure of the “Fujin-Raijin zu Byoubu” (“Picture of god of the wind and god of thunder in folding screen”) is important in Japanese history of art. This picture drew by Sotatsu Tawaraya is said to be the symbol of Rimpa (Rimpa school of painting), and welcome when you enter the temple at the very beginning.
This dragon is the thing which was drawn in the Heisei era, but it seems to melt into the building of the sermon hall as if it lived here from old days. The size of the dragon may not appeal because a sermon hall is big, but its area is equivalent to 108 pieces of tatami mats (Approximately 200 square meter).
The dragon is said to be “God controlling water”. It seems that they quietly watch over the temple and people from the sky.
The Zen meditation classes and copying sutras classes are started at 8:00 a.m. of second Sunday every month. It seems that you can experience it without reservation.
|Name:||Kennin-ji (The Oldest Zen Temple Kenninji)|
|Adresse:||Komatsu-cho 584, Yamato Oji Dori Shijo Sagaru, Higasiyama-ku, Kyoto-city Kyoto 605-0811 Japan|
|Access:||Keihan Railway line "Gion-shijo-eki Station” (7 minutes walk)|
|Price/Charge:||500 yen (Adult)|
300 yen (High School Students or Under)
200 yen (Elementary School Children)
Free (Preschool Children)
Please refer the official web page.