The highlights and how to get to Shoren-in Monzeki.

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Shoren-in (青蓮院) is one of a ‘Monzeki (門跡) temple‘ of the Tendai sect, located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City.

‘Monzeki (門跡)’ is the temple which traditionally served by successive head priests from the Imperial family and nobility.
And this temple is one of the three important monzeki temples of Hieizan Enryaku-ji which is the head temple of the Tendai sect along with Sanzen-in and Myoho-in.

During the Edo period in 1788, Shoren-in served as the temporary palace of Empress Go-sakuramachi (後桜町天皇) at the time of the Dairi Castle Fires.
It is because of this it has been designated as a National Historic Site under the name ‘Former Temporary Palace Shoren-in Temple.’

In addition it has been designated by the Michelin green guide ★.

The highlight of this temple is the whole precincts which was designated a National Historic Site.
The precincts of this temple which we can make a round trip of slowly have very good atmosphere.

If you want to feel the National Historic Site slowly, please visit this temple!!

So, I visited Shoren-in this time.

Contents:

  1. The history of Shoren-in
  2. About Seiryu-den (detached precinct of Shoren-in)
  3. About Shoren-in
  4. Kyoto’s spring illumination event : ‘Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro’
  5. Information for visitors
  6. The highlights of Shoren-in
  7. The videos・photos of Shoren-in
  8. The goshuin (red seal) of Shoren-in
  9. How to get to Shoren-in
  10. Hotel search & reservation around Shoren-in

1.The history of Shoren-in

Let’s study the history of this monzeki temple with me before introducing of Shoren-in (青蓮院).
I think that we can enjoy the sightseeing of it more by learning the history of it. XD

Shoren-in was founded in 1150 of the Heian period by Gyogen (行玄) who was the 12th head priest of the Tendai sect.

When Saicho (最澄) who was a sect father of the Tendai sect founded Enryaku-ji (延暦寺) in 788 of the Nara period, he founded the temple called ‘Shoren-bo (青蓮坊)‘ as a dorter for the priest.
And, in 1150 of the Heian period, Gyogen (行玄) who was the 12th head priest of the Tendai sect founded this temple formally.

At that time, this temple changed its name to ‘Shoren-in (青蓮院).’

In 1788 of the Edo period, because the Imperial Palace at that time suffered a fire, this temple served as the temporary palace of Empress Go-sakuramachi (後桜町天皇).
Therefore this temple is also called ‘Awata Imperial Palace (粟田御所)‘ to commemorate the name of this place.

In 1839 of the Meiji period, this temple suffered a fire and it consumed the almost all building.
So, most buildings of this temple were rebuilt after the Meiji period.

This temple hold the painting of Fudo-Myoo (不動明王:Acala) and his two attendant boys which is designated as National Treasure.
It is also called ‘Ao Fudo (青不動:Blue Fudo).’
And it is one of the three most famous Fudo in Japan from ancient times, along with ‘Aka Fudo’ (赤不動:Red Fudo) of Myoo-in Temple in Mt. Koya and ‘Ki Fudo’ (黄不動:Yellow Fudo) of Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple) in Shiga Prefecture.
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This Fudo painting is now enshrined in Seiryu-den hall which was built on the Higashiyama mountaintop at Kyoto City in 2014.
So, I recommend you to go to Seiryu-den hall, too.

By the way, the keyword that I want to teach to you in this temple is ‘Jien (慈円).’

Who is he?

He is not so famous, but was a great priest.
There is no loss in you knowing his history.

Jien is a priest of the Tendai sect of the early Kamakura period, and he assumed the position of head priest of Tendai sect four times.
This temple is said to have been the most prosperous in his time.

Shoren-in is a temple of the Tendai sect and the head temple of this temple is Enryaku-ji.

In those days, Enryaku-ji was a religiously radical temple.
So, as to the other religious denomination, there was a strong repression from Enryaku-ji.

However, only Jien was very generous to other religions.

In those days, Honen (法然) who was the founder of Jodo (Pure Land) Sect was persecuted from Enryaku-ji and the imperial court.
But Jien protected Honen in spite of his position as the priest of the Tendai sect.

Jien took pity on Honen’s position.
So, he shared a part of the precincts of this temple with Honen.
And Honen built a new temple on that land.
It is current Chion-in (知恩院).

Therefore Shoren-in and Chion-in are very close in distance.

In addition, Shinran (親鸞) who was the founder of Jodo Shinshu Sect was able to become a priest thanks to Jien.
So, this temple is a temple of the Tendai sect, but is also one of the sacred place of Jodo Shinshu Sect.
This is the reason why a child image and the hair of Shinran are worshiped in the Uegami-do hall of this temple.

Jodo (Pure Land) Sect and Jodo Shinshu Sect are said to be the most believed in Japan today.
These two sects were protected by Jien’s gentleness.

I say once again.
Jien is not so famous, but was a great priest…!!

‘Ji (慈)’ has the meaning of ‘Love’ and ‘En (円)’ has the meaning of ‘Infinite.’

So, his name has the meaning of ‘Infinite love.’
・・・, Names and natures do often agree!!

2.About Seiryu-den (detached precinct of Shoren-in)

If you want to know the information of Seiryu-den, please read following article.

3.About Shoren-in

Open:9:00 ~ 17:00 (special night visit:18:00 ~ 22:00)
Admission fee (Normal visit):500 yen (College student or older), 400 yen (Junior high school / high school student), 200 yen (Elementary school student)
Admission fee (Special night visit):800 yen (College student or older), 400 yen (Elementary school student or older)

Address:69-1, Awadaguchi Sanjobocho, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0035, Japan
Phone number:+81-75-561-2345
Foundation:1150
Founder:Gyogen (行玄)
Sect:Tendai sect
Principal image:Shijoko Nyorai (熾盛光如来)

Shoren-in (青蓮院) is one of a ‘Monzeki (門跡) temple‘ of the Tendai sect, located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City.
shorenin-03

‘Monzeki (門跡)’ is the temple which traditionally served by successive head priests from the Imperial family and nobility.
shorenin-04

This temple is one of the three important monzeki temples of Hieizan Enryaku-ji which is the head temple of the Tendai sect along with Sanzen-in and Myoho-in.
shorenin-05

In 1788 of the Edo period, this temple served as the temporary palace of Empress Go-sakuramachi (後桜町天皇).
Therefore this temple is also called ‘Awata Imperial Palace (粟田御所)‘ to commemorate the name of this place.
shorenin-06

The whole precincts of this temple have been designated as a National Historic Site.
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It has very good atmosphere.
shorenin-29

Next, let’s go to see the highlights of Shoren-in!!
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4.Kyoto’s spring illumination event : ‘Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro’

The illuminations event called ‘Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro (京都東山花灯路)‘ is held every spring in Higashiyama, Kyoto.

Shoren-in is also a venue of this events.
In addition, it holds an original illuminations event in autumn November.
So, if you can go to this temple in spring and autumn, let’s go at night.

↓Visit article of ‘Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro’ is here.↓

5.Information for visitors

・The special night visit is March and November.

・Photography and video recording are prohibited inside the building of this temple. 
(Exclude Kacho-den hall.)

・Monopod/Tripods and stepladders are prohibited in this temple.

・The worship method of a Shinto shrine and a Buddhist temple, please refer to the following article.

6.The highlights of Shoren-in

This mark ‘*‘ is a pay area.

薬医門:Yakui-mon gate

This is the Yakui-mon gate which has the role as a entrance of this temple.
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(天然記念物):Kusu (camphor tree) (Natural monument)

Five Kusu (camphor tree) in the precincts are more than 800 years old and are designated as a natural monument.
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寺務所:Office of a temple

This is the Jimusho (office of this temple).
We can get a Goshuin in this building.
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枯山水庭園:Karesansui (japanese rock) garden

There is a karesansui (Japanese rock) garden in front of the temple office.
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華頂殿*:Kacho-den hall*

This is the Kacho-den hall which has the role as a reception hall.
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Inside of the Kacho-den hall is decorated with pictures of the thirty-six major tanka poets and fusuma pictures of the lotus etc.
Hideki KIMURA (木村英輝) who is also famous for another name called ‘KI-YAN‘ designed this fusuma picture.
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相阿弥の庭*:Soami-no-niwa garden*

This is the Soami-no-niwa garden.
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It was designed by Soami (相阿弥) who was the famous ink painter in the Muromachi period.
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The hall of the Kacho-den has a big veranda facing the Soami-no-niwa garden.
So, we can see a garden slowly from here. 🙂
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一文字手水鉢*:Ichimonji-Chozubachi*

This is the Ichimonji-Chozubachi (water bowl).
This is made of one big stone which has the straight-line-shaped, and it is said that it was donated by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI (豊臣秀吉).
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霧島の庭*:Kirishima-no-niwa garden*

This is the Kirishima-no-niwa garden designed by Enshu KOBORI (小堀遠州).
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Because a Kirishima azalea is planted in this garden, it is called Kirishima-no-niwa.
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好文亭*:Kobun-tei*

This is the Kobun-tei which has the role as a tea house.
In the old days, it is said that Empress Go-sakuramachi (後桜町天皇) studied in this building.
This building was destroyed by arson in 1993 and rebuilt 2 years later.
shorenin-35

小御所*:Ko-gosho*

This is the Ko-gosho.
This building was used as the Imperial Palace in the Edo period.
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本堂*:Hon-do hall*

This is the Hon-do hall.
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Because Shijoko Nyorai (熾盛光如来) which is the principal image of this temple is enshrined in the building, it is also called Shijoko-do (熾盛光堂).
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宸殿*:Shin-den hall*

This is the Shin-den hall.
A building called Shin-den (宸殿) is a peculiar building of monzeki temple.
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This building was rebuilt after a fire of 1893.
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宸殿前庭*:Front garden of the Shin-den hall*

This is the front garden of the Shin-den hall.
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This garden is covered by moss.
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It is illuminated with LED lights of the blue on specific days at night in spring and autumn.
shorenin-31

大玄関*:O-genkan

This is the O-genkan which has the role as a formal entrance of the Shin-den hall.
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日吉社*:Hiyoshi-sha shrine*

This is the Hiyoshi-sha shrine.
Hiyoshi-sanno (日吉山王) who protect the Tendai sect is enshrined in this Shinto shrine.
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鐘楼*:Shoro (Bell tower)*

This is the Shoro (Bell tower).
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We can ring this temple bell freely.
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四脚門*:Shikyaku-mon gate*

This is the Shikyaku-mon gate.
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It was relocated from the old palace of Empress Meisho (明正天皇) and managed to avoid the fire of 1893.
shorenin-40

長屋門*:Nagaya-mon gate*

This is the Nagaya-mon gate.
It was also relocated from the old palace of Empress Meisho (明正天皇) and managed to avoid the fire of 1893.
shorenin-42

植髪堂:Uegami-do hall

This is the Uegami-do hall which was rebuilt in 1880 of the Meiji period.
The child image of Shinran (親鸞) who was the founder of Jodo Shinshu Sect is enshrined in this building.
shorenin-43

親鸞聖人遺髪塔:The monument containing Shinran’s hair

This is the Ihatsu-to pagoda.
Hair of the departed Shinran is enshrined in this pagoda.
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7.The videos・photos of Shoren-in

■YouTube:青蓮院門跡の境内と庭園:Shoren-in Monzeki 

■Flickr:青蓮院門跡:Shorenin Monzeki(20170324)

青蓮院門跡:Shorenin Monzeki(20170324)

8.The goshuin (red seal) of Shoren-in

The goshuin of this temple is “Shijoko Nyorai (熾盛光如来)” which is the principal image of this temple.
We can get this goshuin in the Jimusho (office of this temple). (300 yen)
shorenin-08

9.How to get to Shoren-in

How to get to Shoren-in is as follows.

The nearest station of Shoren-in is “Kyoto City Subway Higashiyama Station”.
(We can also go by bus from ‘JR Kyoto Station’, ‘Hankyu Kawaramachi Station’, and ‘Keihan Gion-Shijo Station’.)

  Timetable and Route Search

■Route Example (From Osaka Station to Higashiyama Station)
heianjingu-03-en

■Route Example (From Namba Station to Higashiyama Station)
heianjingu-04-en

■Route Example (From Kyoto Station to Higashiyama Station)
heianjingu-05-en

■When you go on foot from Higashiyama Station

It’s about 10 minutes (500m) on foot.

■When you get on a bus from JR Kyoto Station

  Timetable and Route Search of bus

●Kyoto Sta.[A1]:5/Bound for Ginkakuji Temple Via Heian-jingu Shrin


Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:5/Bound for Ginkakuji Temple Via Heian-jingu Shrin
Boarding bus stop:Kyoto Sta.[A1]
Alighting bus stop:Jingu-michi
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 30 min

■When you get on a bus from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station

  Timetable and Route Search of bus

Shijo Kawaramachi [H]:5/Bound for Ginkakuji Temple Via Heian-jingu Shrin


Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:5/Bound for Ginkakuji Temple Via Heian-jingu Shrin
Boarding bus stop:Shijo Kawaramachi [H]
Alighting bus stop:Jingu-michi
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 12 min

■When you get on a bus from Keihan Gion-Shijo Station

  Timetable and Route Search of bus

Shijo Keihan-mae[B]:46/Bound for Kamigamo-jinja Shrine


Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:46/Bound for Kamigamo-jinja Shrine
Boarding bus stop:Shijo Keihan-mae[B]
Alighting bus stop:Jingu-michi
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 17 min

■When you take a taxi

From Kyoto Station:1,810 yen ~ 2,160 yen (about 15 minutes)
From Gion-Shijo Station:770 yen ~ 880 yen (about 7 minutes)

・Let’s show a taxi driver the following phrase.
shorenin-02

・If you want to call a taxi, let’s show the following phrase.
taxi-call

[Phone number of taxi dispatch : Around the Kyoto Station]*Japanese text only.

10.Hotel search & reservation around Shoren-in

How did you like it?

Please try to go to this temple.

Have a nice trip! XD

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