Eikan-do Temple


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.

So-mon gate A stone pavement Taho-to pagoda and a blooming crape myrtle
So-mon gate.
June 24, 2009
A stone pavement between So-mon gate and Chu-mon gate
June 24, 2009
Taho-to pagoda looked over the roof of Main Entrance and a blooming crape myrtle.
August 24, 2003
Kara-mon gate Goei-do hall Amida-do hall
Kara-mon gate.
June 24, 2009
Goei-do, the hall for Honen, the founder of Jodo-shu sect.
June 24, 2009
Amida-do hall that was built in the early 17th century. The principal image, Amida Nyorai, is enshrined in this hall.
June 24, 2009
Taho-to pagoda and colored leaves Taho-to pagoda Colored leaves
Taho-to pagoda looked over famous colored leaves.
November 26, 2000
Taho-to pagoda, that was built in 1928.
June 24, 2009
Colored leaves looked from Taho-to pagoda.
November 26, 2000
Garyu-ro Inside of Garyu-ro Stairs in Garyu-ro
Garyu-ro, a covered corridor that lead to Taho-to pagoda.
August 24, 2003
Inside of Garyu-ro.
June 24, 2009
Stairs in Garyu-ro.
June 24, 2009
A unique ishidoro Ishidoro A pond
A unique ishidoro.
June 24, 2009
June 24, 2009
A pond.
June 24, 2009
A waterfall A bath house A steam bath
A waterfall. The figure in front of the waterfall seems to be Fudo Myo'o.
June 24, 2009
A bath house.
June 24, 2009
A steam bath.
June 24, 2009