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View of Otokoizaka from Sanmon Gate of Chion-in Temple

Introducing the highlights of Higashiyama [Chion-in], Kyoto, which will celebrate 850 years in 2024 since Honen Shonin founded the sect.

Everyone can be saved equally by simply chanting "Namu Amidabutsu" (Amitabha) with all one's heart. Honen Shonin, the founder of the Jodo sect of Buddhism, lived in Chion-in, the sacred place of Nembutsu, where he spent his life. Walking through the grounds of the temple, whose territory was expanded by Tokugawa Ieyasu, one can always hear the sound of Buddhist chanting from somewhere.
The morning service, called Chencho (Buddhist service), is open to neighbors and visitors alike, and from June to August the gates open at 5:00 a.m., the Buddhist service is held at 5:30 a.m., and the Dharma talk at 6:00 p.m. If you cannot catch the first train, including the Gyoten lecture in July, you may choose to stay overnight at the Shukubo Wajyun Kaikan. For those who cannot make it on time for the first train, including the Gyoten lecture in July, there is an option to stay at the Shukubo Wajyunkaikan.

1.First, greet Honen Shonin at the Mikageido Hall.

The Mikado, a national treasure, enshrines the image (=wooden statue) of Honen Shonin. The building we see today was built by Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa Shogun.

National Treasure Mikageido at Chion-in Temple

Under the eaves at the upper right side of the front, there is a "forgotten umbrella," one of the Seven Wonders of Chion-in, so keep your eyes peeled for it.

2.Pledge eternal love in front of Amida Buddha!

The main statue of the seated Amida Nyorai, which stands 2.7 meters tall, is enshrined in the Amida Hall. The face faces the east, and people worship in the direction of the west, which leads to the Paradise of the West. A solemn Buddhist wedding ceremony can be held here.

Amida Hall in Chion-in Temple

3.Quiet time in the mausoleum and Seishi Hall

Gobyo and Seishi-do are located further up the stone steps than Mikage-do and Amida-do.

Precincts of Chion-in Temple
Seishi-do Hall in Chion-in Temple

In the hall of worship in front of the mausoleum where Honen Shonin's ashes are enshrined, wooden fish are placed and visitors are free to chant sutras.

Honen Shonin's mausoleum at Chion-in Temple

In the hall behind the Seishi Hall, visitors can experience sutra copying while overlooking the view of Kyoto.

View from the hall to experience sutra copying at Chion-in Temple

4.Hojo Garden that can be admired while walking

This pond garden is said to have been created by the monk Gyokuchu, who was related to Kobori Enshu. Walking around the small and large hojo, visitors can enjoy the harmony of Higashiyama and plants.

Chion-in's pond garden

The Garden of Twenty-five Bodhisattvas, located at the far end of the garden, is planted with raigo-yun, and Amida Nyorai and Twenty-five Bodhisattvas are represented by stones.

The Garden of Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas in Chion-in Temple

5.Beyond the three gates, a man and a woman part ways.

The temple is 24 meters high and 50 meters wide! After passing through the Sanmon Gate, the symbol of Chion-in, which has been used as a location for movies such as "The Last Samurai" and "Maiko is Lady," you will see a path called Otokozaka, which is a slope for worshippers.

View of Otokoizaka from Sanmon Gate of Chion-in Temple

It can also be climbed from the gently sloping women's hill on the side.

6.Summer is a cool morning dawn course.

The Gyoten Lectures, which began in 1967, are a summer tradition where visitors can listen to a variety of lecturers in the Mikado Hall.

National Treasure of Chion-in Temple, Mieido Entrance

This year's event will be held July 21-23, 6:00 a.m.-7:00 a.m. Visitors may observe from the 5:10 a.m. memorial service. After the lecture and meditation, sweet potato porridge will be served.

Chion-in Temple

  • Zionin
  • 400 Hayashishitacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • 7 min. walk from bus stop "Chion-in-mae".
    7 minute walk from Higashiyama Subway Station
  • Tel.075-531-2111
  • 9:00-16:00 (gates open at 5:00)
  • Entrance fees: Hojo Garden 400 yen, Yuzen Garden 300 yen
  • No parking
  • https://www.chion-in.or.jp/
  • PHOTO/Taka Natsumi, TEXT/Riho Tachihara
*Please note that the information contained herein is subject to change without notice.
*Since this site uses automatic translation, the translation may differ from the original Japanese content.

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