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Chion-in Temple (知恩院), situated in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, is the temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism.

The temple’s formal name is “Kachozan Chionkyo-in Otani-dera”.
And it is one of the biggest temples in the temples of Kyoto.

This temple is the grand head temple of Jodo sect that is one of the greatest factions of the Buddhism in Japan.
In addition, it had a deep connection with the Tokugawa clan (徳川家).

Chion-in has been designated as the Michelin green guide ★.




Contents:

  1. Difference between Jodo-shu and Jodo-shinshu
  2. History of Chion-in
  3. About Chion-in
  4. Kyoto’s spring illumination event : ‘Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro’
  5. Information for visitors
  6. About the Seven Wonders of Chion-in
  7. Highlights of Chion-in
  8. Photos of Chion-in
  9. Goshuin (Stamp of temple) of Chion-in
  10. How to get to Chion-in
  11. Hotel search & reservation around Chion-in

1.Difference between Jodo-shu and Jodo-shinshu

There are many sects in Japanese Buddhism.
(Chion-in Temple is the Jodo sect of Buddhism.)

Among these sects, Jodo-shu (浄土宗) and Jodo-shinshu (浄土真宗) are very similar.

Thus, in this section, we explain about the difference between Jodo-shu and Jodo-shinshu.

Jodo-shu is one of the sects of the Buddhism that Honen (法然) founded in 1175.
Jodo-shinshu is one of the sects of the Buddhism that Shinran (親鸞) who is the pupil of Honen founded in 1224.

Jodo-shinshu is the sect derived from Jodo-shu.

Both Jodo-shu and Jodo-shinshu respect the Nenbutsu (念仏:prayer to Amitabha).
However, there is a following difference between Jodo-shu and Jodo-shinshu.

Jodo-shu’s Nenbutsu is the prayer that we appeal to god for help.
Jodo-shinshu’s Nenbutsu is the prayer that we express the feeling of our thanks for God.

Please refer to the following articles, too.

2.History of Chion-in

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

Chion-in was founded in the Heian period (平安時代) of 1175 by Honen (法然) who was an initiator of the Jodo-shu (浄土宗).
(The Jodo-shu was also born in the same year.)
This temple is also the temple where Honen spent his later years.

Chion-in is one of the biggest temples in the temples of Kyoto.
However, originally it was not a big temple.

“Why would Chion-in became such the big temple?”

There are two reasons.

The first reason : Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (徳川家康) was the follower of the Jodo-shu.

The teaching of the Jodo-shu that is the idea of Honen is called ‘Senshu Nenbutsu (専修念仏).’
It’s an open-and-shut thinking, as follows.

All people can be reborn in Amida’s Paradise by reciting ‘Namuamidabutsu (南無阿弥陀仏).’

Yes, in the Jodo-shu, we can go to the Buddhists’ paradise only praying to Amida Buddha (阿弥陀如来) even if we do not train ourselves.
Jodo sect is popular by this reason from old days.
Therefore, the Tokugawa clan (徳川家) also believed in this Jodo sect of Buddhism from generation to generation.
So, the Tokugawa clan greatly participated in the development of this temple.

The second reason : this temple is located on the rising ground of Kyoto.

Because Chion-in is located on the rising ground of Kyoto, it was the place that can look down at the Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所).

In the Edo period (江戸時代), the Tokugawa clan (bakufu) and the imperial court did not get along with each other.
Therefore, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA revived this temple to check the Imperial Court of this era always.
He expanded this temple grounds from 1608 and built numerous halls.

Although the mitsuba-aoi (三葉葵) which is the Tokugawa family’s crest was exclusively used by the Tokugawa clan, Chioni-n could use it because it was due to the above reasons.

By such the reasons, Chion-in Temple became the big temple.




3.About Chion-in

Chion-in (知恩院 Chion-in) in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan is the headquarters of the Jōdo-shū (Pure Land Sect) founded by Hōnen (1133–1212), who proclaimed that sentient beings are reborn in Amida Buddha’s Western Paradise (Pure Land) by reciting the nembutsu, Amida Buddha’s name.
The vast compounds of Chion-in include the site where Hōnen settled to disseminate his teachings and the site where he died.
引用(citation):https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chion-in

Open:9:00~16:30
Admission Fee(Hojo Garden):400 yen (High school student or older), 200 yen (Elementary / Junior high school student)
Admission Fee(Yuzen-en Garden):300 yen (High school student or older), 150 yen (Elementary / Junior high school student)
Admission Fee(Both Gardens):500 yen (High school student or older), 250 yen (Elementary / Junior high school student)

Address:Chion-in 400 Rinka-cho, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto, 605-8686
Phone Number:+81-075-531-2111
Foundation:1175
Founder:Honen (法然)
Sect:Jodo-shu (浄土宗)
Principal image:Honen (法然) , Amida Nyorai (Amithaba)

Chion-in Temple (知恩院), situated in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, is the temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism.
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This temple is the grand head temple of Jodo-shu that is one of the greatest factions of the Japanese Buddhism.
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This temple was founded in the Heian period (平安時代) of 1175 by Honen (法然) who was an initiator of the Jodo-shu.
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it had a deep connection with the Tokugawa clan (徳川家).
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There are many stone wall like the stone wall of castle.
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There are many highlights in the precincts of this temple.
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Next, let’s see the highlights of Chion-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.

Chion-in is also a venue of this events.
So, if you can go to this temple in spring, let’s go at night.

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

5.Information for visitors

・Photography and video recording are prohibited inside the building of this temple.

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

Let’s follow a rule.

6.About Seven Wonders of Chion-in

There are the Seven Wonders in Chion-in.

However, because photography and video recording are prohibited in those places, please refer to the following articles.




7.Highlights of Chion-in

「*印」のついている見どころは有料エリアです。(This seal (*) is a pay area.)

新門:Shin-mon gate

This is Shin-mon gate.
This gate has the role of the entrance of the south approach to the temple.
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古門:Furu-mon gate

This is Furu-mon gate.
This gate has the role of the entrance of the north approach to the temple.
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三門(国宝):San-mon gate (National treasure)

This is San-mon gate which was built by Hidetada TOKUGAWA (徳川秀忠) in 1621 of the Edo period.
This gate has been designated as a national treasure, and is one of the three greatest gate in Japan.
(The others are Nanzen-ji’s San-mon and Kuon-ji’s San-mon.)
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A frame of “Kacho-zan (華頂山)” which is the mountain name of this temple is displayed in the top of this gate.
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黒門:Kuro-mon gate

This is Kuro-mon gate.
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南門:Minami-mon gate (South gate)

This is Minami-mon gate (South gate) which has a role of the entrance from the Maruyama Park (円山公園).
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北門:Kita-mon gate (North gate)

This is Kita-mon gate (North gate).
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四脚門:Shikyaku-mon gate

This is Shikyaku-mon gate.
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武家門:Buke-mon gate

This is Buke-mon gate which has a role of the entrance of Shue-do holl (集会堂).
This is also the entrance of Hojo (方丈) and Hojo garden (方丈庭園).
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唐門(重要文化財)*:Kara-mon gate (important cultural property)*

This is Kara-mon gate which was built in 1641 of the early Edo period, and it has been designated as an important cultural property.
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This gate is built in the north side of Miei-do hall.
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御影堂(国宝):Miei-do hall (National treasure)

This is Miei-do hall which has been designated as a national treasure.
But currently covered by scaffolding for a major restoration…(until 2019).
This building was reconstructed by Iemitsu TOKUGAWA (徳川家光) in 1639 of the Edo period.
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阿弥陀堂:Amida-do hall

This is Amida-do hall where Amida Nyorai (阿弥陀如来:Amithaba) of the principal image of this temple is enshrined.
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This building was reconstructed in 1910 of the Meiji period (明治時代).
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●霊塔(多宝塔): Rei-to pagoda

This is Rei-to pagoda.
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真葛庵:Makuzu-an (Tea House)

This is Makuzu-an which has a role of the tea house.
A tea party is held once a month here.
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寶佛殿:Hobutsu-den hall (New charnel house)

This is Hobutsu-den hall built in 1992 which has a role of the charnel house.
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This temple has two charnel houses.
This is the new charnel house.
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納骨堂:Nokotsu-do hall (Old charnel house)

This is Nokotsu-do hall built in 1930 which is the old charnel house.
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大鐘楼(重要文化財):Daishoro (Great bell tower) (important cultural property)

This is Daishoro (Great bell tower) built in 1678 of the middle Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
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The bell of this bell tower is one of the three greatest bell in Japan.
(The others are Todai-ji’s bell and Hoko-ji’s bell.)
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経蔵(重要文化財):Kyozo (sutra repository) (important cultural property)

This is Kyozo (sutra repository) built in 1621 of the early Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
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Issai-kyo (Complete Collection of Scriptures) is kept in this building.
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写経塔:Shakyo-to pagoda

This is Shakyo-to pagoda.
A sutra copied by hand is kept in this pagoda.
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勢至堂(重要文化財):Seishi-do hall (important cultural property)

In the upper section of this temple, there are the buildings such as the Seishi-do hall and the Honen‘s Mausoleum.
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Let’s go up the long stairs.
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This is the entrance of the Honen‘s Mausoleum.
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This is Seishi-do hall reconstructed in 1530 of the Muromachi Period (室町時代) which has been designated as an important cultural property.
This building is the oldest building in this temple.
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When this building was made for the first time, it had a role of the main hall.
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紫雲水:Shiun-sui

This spring water is called ‘Shiun-sui (the water of purple cloud).’
When Honen died in 1212, it is said that a purple cloud was reflected in the surface of this water.
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法然上人御廟:Gobyo (Honen’s Mausoleum) 

This is Hai-den hall in front of the Gobyo.
It was built in 1710 of the Edo period.
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There is the Gobyo in the back side of Hai-den hall.
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This is the Gobyo (Honen’s Mausoleum) which was built in 1613 of the Edo period.
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This building is built in the highest place of the precincts of this temple.
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集会堂(重要文化財):Shue-do hall (important cultural property)

This is Shue-do hall built in 1635 of the early Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
The homiletic speech by monks is held in this building every day.
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新玄関:Shin-genkan

This is Shin-genkan which has a role of the entrance of O-kuri.
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大庫裏(重要文化財)*:O-kuri (important cultural property)*

This is O-kuri built in 1641 of the early Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
This building is also called ‘Sekko-den (雪香殿).’
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小庫裏(重要文化財)*:Sho-kuri (important cultural property)*

This is Sho-kuri built in 1641 of the early Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
This building is also called ‘Gekko-den (月光殿).’
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大方丈(重要文化財)*:O-hojo (important cultural property)*

This is O-hojo built in 1641 of the early Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
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This building had a role as the place to have an audience with the shogun(将軍).
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小方丈(重要文化財)*:Ko-hojo (important cultural property)*

This is Ko-hojo built in 1641 of the early Edo Period which has been designated as an important cultural property.
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This building had the role as the house of the shogun(将軍).
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方丈庭園*:Hojo garden*

This garden is the circuit style garden around a big pond (池泉回遊式庭園).
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This garden was made by So-Gyokuen (僧玉淵).
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It is a very beautiful Japanese garden.
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権現堂*:Gongen-do hall*

There is Gongen-do hall in the back side of Hojo garden.
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This is Gongen-do hall which was built in 1974.
The mortuary tablets of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, Hidetada TOKUGAWA and Iemitsu TOKUGAWA are enshrined in this building.
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8.The photos of Chion-in

■Flickr:知恩院:Chion-in(20160131)

知恩院:Chion-in(20160131)

9.Goshuin (Stamp of temple) of Chion-in

Chion-in has three kinds of goshuin (御朱印).
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I got the goshuin of ‘Honen shonin (法然上人)‘.
We can get this goshuin in the Shuin-jo. (300 yen)
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10.How to get to Chion-in

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

  Timetable and Route Search

■Route Example (From Osaka Station to Keihan Gion Shijo Station)
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■Route Example (From Namba Station to Keihan Gion Shijo Station)
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■Route Example (From Kyoto Station to Keihan Gion Shijo Station)
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■When you go on foot from Keihan Gion-Shijo Station

It’s about 20 minutes (1 km) on foot.
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■When you get on a bus from JR Kyoto Station

  Timetable and Route Search of bus

[Timetable]Route No.206

Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:No.206[Bound for Gion Via Kiyomizu-dera Temple]
Boarding bus stop:Kyoto Sta.[D2]
Alighting bus stop:Chionin-mae (Chionin Temple)
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 23 min

■When you get on a bus from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station

  Timetable and Route Search of bus

[Timetable]Route No.46

Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:No.46[Bound for Heian-jingu Shrine Via Gion]
Boarding bus stop:Shijo Kawaramachi[E]
Alighting bus stop:Chionin-mae (Chionin Temple)
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 7 min

[Timetable]Route No.203

Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:No.203[Bound for Ginkakuji Temple Via Gion]
Boarding bus stop:Shijo Kawaramachi[E]
Alighting bus stop:Chionin-mae (Chionin Temple)
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 7 min

■When you get on a bus from Keihan Sanjo Station

  Timetable and Route Search of bus

[Timetable]Route No.12

Bus company:Kyoto City Bus
Routes/Destination:No.12[Bound for Kinkakuji Temple]
Boarding bus stop:Sanjo Keihan-mae[D]
Alighting bus stop:Chionin-mae (Chionin Temple)
Bus fare:230 yen
Time required:About 5 min

■When you take a taxi

From Kyoto Station:1,650 yen ~ 2,000 yen (about 10 minutes)
From Gion-Shijo Station:690 yen ~ 800 yen (about 3 minutes)

■Let’s show a taxi driver the following phrase.
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■If you want to call a taxi, let’s show the following phrase.
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[タクシー配車連絡先(Phone number of taxi dispatch) : 京都駅周辺]

11.Hotel search & reservation around Chion-in

How did you like it?

Please try to go to this temple.

Have a nice trip! XD

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