Shoren-in, one of five Tendai-shu sect Monzeki temples in Kyoto (see note below), has peaceful atmosphere. It's primary attraction is Chisen-kaiyu-shiki (pond stroll) garden. You will hear the sound of a small waterfall, and yet you may feel quietness and serenity.
Shoren-in has a national treasure, a painting of blue Fudo-Myo'o. A reproduction of the painting is hanging in a back room of the main hall.
History of Shoren-in
Denkyo-daishi Saicho (767-822), the founder of Tendai-shu sect and Enryaku-ji, built small buildings on Mt. Hiei as priests' residences. Shoren-bo, one of the buildings in Todo of Mt. Hiei, was the origin of Shoren-in.
Gyogen (1097-1155), the 48th Head Priest of Enryaku-ji, was living in Shoren-bo. The retired Emperor Toba (1103-1156) made his 7th son Gyogen's disciple and build a temple in the present site. The retired Emperor named the temple Shoren-in. Thus, Gyogen became the first head priest of the new temple followed by Prince Kakukai-shin'no (1134-1181), Toba's 7th son. Since then, until the Meiji-era (1868-1912), each head priest of Shoren-in was from the imperial family or the regent family.
In 1788, a great fire broke out in Kyoto and the Imperial Palace was reduced to ashes. The retired Emperor Go-Sakuramachi settled into and used Shoren-in as her temporary Imperial Palace. Kobun-tei in the garden of the temple was used as her study room.
How to get to Shoren-in temple
- 29 minutes from Kyoto Station to Jingu-michi bus stop by Kyoto City Bus No. 5 then 3 minutes on foot, or
- 5 minutes on foot from Higashiyama station of subway Tozai line.
Hours and Admission
9:00 am to 17:00 (admission ends at 16:30)
Those older then following: 500 yen
Junior high school and high school students: 400 yen
Elementary school pupils (1st - 6th graders): 300 yen
Click on a photo for a larger image.