Zenpukuji Temple

Description: 

Against the hurried flow of life in such a actively developing harbor city like Kobe, the atmosphere wrapped inside the small precinct of Zenpukuji temple keeps motionless like it naturally be over decades. Staying out of the bustle and modernization, the temple welcomes the visitors to an ancient time of nostalgia, when history is saved completely in the architecture and sleeping souls of the temple.

zenpukuji_temple_welcomekansai

Source: Photograph.com

Zenpukuji temple is believed to be built in about 727 by the priest Gyoki, an outstanding Japanese Buddhist monk in Nara period. However, the monk Ninsai is the one revitalizing the temple. Overcoming rise and fall of history, Zenpukuji remains a prestigious temple in Kobe as the temple was visited several times by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in the occasions he dropped in Arima hot spring. Nowadays, people usually take their time of the trip around Arima onsen area to come to pray at the temple, considering it a typical symbol of history and culture of the area.

zenpukuji_temple_welcomekansai

Source: Photograph.com

Zenpukuji has a simple structure like a neighborhood temple that locals often come on holidays to wish for health and luck. A short stone stair, a small gate and a short building, all are covered by the grey color of time. The main hall was constructed in about 1757 with six girder and tile roof. No lavish architecture, no sophisticated decorations, no imposing structure, the whole construction is extremely simple and plain. Almost all parts of Zenpukuji structure are made by wood, old and obsolete with several wooden chart written Japanese scattered around the ground. The light of Zenpukuji temple seems to be the statue of Prince Shotoku born in Kamakura period which is designated as an Important Cultural Property. The impressive work of cypress wood has a strong relationship with the event of bathing on the hot spring near the temple of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

zenpukuji_temple_welcomekansai

Source: Photograph.com

The story is often told when spring visits Zenpukuji temple, about four majestical cherry blossom trees inside the temple. The trees are believed to live here for about 270 years and considered as the citizen trees of Kobe city. 270 years is a long time enough for a soul coming into being inside each cherry tree. These holy souls silently emit the gentle aroma to protect the temple as well as Kobe area. Every year in April, the cherry blossom festival with tea party is held under weeping foliage of the citizen cherry trees. The whole temple suddenly turns into mysterious at night and you can even hear its breath, swaying with the hanging boughs of cherry. When the moonlight breaks in the cherry hair, visitors leisurely drink tea and think about the beauty of flower and moon. Arima Grand Tea Ceremony is another tea ceremony held on November 2rd in Zenpukuji temple attracting all the locals around the Arima area to attend.

Open time: 

From 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last admission at 4:30 pm)

Admission: 

Freely access

How to access: 

Take 5 minute walk from Arima-Onsen Station on the Kobe Electric Railway