Shorenin Temple

Description: 

Out of the bustling streets of Higashiyama district, following the fragile blue dots of light deep inside the garden of flower staying side by side with moss, maple living along with cherry blossom, you will catch a unique delight and tranquil atmosphere of Shorenin temple. The temple used to be known as a part of the leading temple of the Tendai Budhist sect Enryakuji on Hiei mountain. Shorenin is also famous as one among five Monzeki temples in Kyoto including Myohoin, Sanzenin, Manshuin, Bishamondo and Shorenin itself. It seems to be the most fantastic moment throughout a year when the whole aroma of time saved inside the precinct of Shorenin stays at a standstill, turning into hundred lights illuminating the temple structure.

shorenin_welcomekansai

Source: Blog Osaka Night

Shorenin temple was constructed in about 13th century by the retired Emperor Toba who used to take a role as the 12th abbot of Enryakuji temple. As he strongly believed in the head priest Gyogen, he allowed his 17th son to follow Gyogen to study Buddhism as well as built Shorenin as a residence for his son and his schoolfellows. Then you can see some kind of the style of Toba’s imperial palace inside the architecture of Shorenin temple. As the son later became the head priest of the temple, tradition was set that imperial family members served as abbots of Shorenin. These abbots, they became legend themselves.

shorenin_welcomekansai

Source: Blog Osaka Night

The abbot Jien of Heian time was the father of the very first book of philosophy Gikansho and a collection of poems called Shugyokushu, as well as the Jodo sect. His descendant Shinran continued this tradition to create sect Shin. Specially, the 17th abbot also known as Prince Sonen made a unique handwriting style featuring both traditional Japanese and Chinese styles. After the fire in 1788 burning down the Imperial Palace, Shorenin served as a temporary residence of imperial family then taking the name of Awata Gosho.

shorenin_welcomekansai

Source: Blog Osaka Night

The retired Emperor Gosakuramachi originally built Kobuntei to make his own study house. The mission of the building changed in about Meiji time as a tea room. Between three tearooms, a water room and a Buddhist altar room, there are partitions with paintings of beautiful flower and bird drawn by the art master Uemura Atsushi. Twice a year, Kobuntei is open to public, holding special tea ceremony under the scene of blooming cherry blossom or splendid red foliage. All four gardens inside Shorenin are designed in unique architecture to be an oasis in the middle of a religious site. Every night in seasons of cherry and red leaves, they lit up several big yellow lamps together with hundreds other little blue and yellow lights around the garden ground and Shorenin will be open so late at night to welcome visitors to come to enjoy the normal Japanese seasons in such a different way.

Open time: 

From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Last entry at 4:30 pm

Admission: 
Adult: 500 yen
High and junior high school student: 400 yen
Elementary school student and younger: 200 yen
How to access: 
-Take Kyoto bus No.5, 46 or 100 and get off at Jingu-michi stop then take a 3 minute walk.
-Take Subway Tozai line or Keihin-Keishin line and get off at Higashiyama station then take a 5 minute walk.