Eikan-do, officially called Zenrin-ji, is the headquarters of Seizan Zenrin-ji sect of Jodo-shu Buddhism. The temple stands on the foot of a hill and part of its roofed corridor is built on a bluff and connects buildings.
Eikan-do is famous for colored leaves in late Autumn. Its principal image is also famous because of its unique posture. It looks back over it's shoulder.
History of Eikan-do
In the year 853 priest Shinsho (797-873), a leading disciple of the founder of Shingon-shu sect (Kobo-Daishi Kukai), bought a residence of the late Fujiwara-no-Sekio to build a temple. In 863, he was granted a permission to found a temple as well as its name "Zenrin-ji" from Emperor Seiwa.
In 1072 Yokan (1033-1111) became the chief priest of the temple and practiced philanthropic actively. The popular name of this temple is after his name "Yokan" which can also be read as "Eikan". A tradition says that when he was chanting sutra as walking around the figure of Amida-Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata), the Nyorai came down from the pedestal and started walking and chanting with him. He was so surprised and stopped walking. Nyorai looked back over his shoulder at him and said "Yokan, you are slow". The figure is said to have been keeping the posture since then.
When Jo'on (1201-1271) was the chief priest, the temple changed from Shingon-shu sect to Jodo-shu sect.
How to get to Eikan-do
- 34 minutes by Kyoto City Bus No. 5 from Kyoto Station to Nanzen-ji-Eikan-do-mae Bus stop then 3 minutes on foot.
Hours and Admission
Admission ends 16:00.
Those older than following: 600 yen
High school students: 400 yen
Elementary school and junior high school students (1st to 9th graders): 400 yen
Click on a photo for full image.