Myoshin-ji Temple (San-mon Gate,location,history)

Myoshin-ji Temple, San-mon Gate

The information about Myoshin-ji Temple is presented here. Myoshin-ji Temple was built in a place called “Hanazono” in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto. The name “Hanazono” comes from the fact that there used to be a residence of a kugyo (court noble) and a hanazono (flower garden). In Hanazono, beautiful flowers blossom in each of the four seasons, and soon it came to be called “Hanazono”. Myoshin-ji Temple has related institutions such as Hanazono University, Hanazono High School, Hanazono Junior High School, and Rakusai Hanazono Kindergarten.

【Myoshin-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 64 Hanazono Myoshinji-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Myoshinji-mae bus stop (about 3 minutes on foot), Myoshinji-kitamon-mae bus stop (about 10 minutes on foot), JR Hanazono Station (about 5 minutes on foot), Randen Myoshinji Station (about 3 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-12:00 (morning), 13:00-16:00 (afternoon)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 700 yen, Junior High and Elementary School Students 400 yen

【Myoshin-ji Temple History】

The site of Myoshin-ji Temple (妙心寺) was built was once the Hanazono Gosho (Villa Hagiwara-dono) of the 95th Emperor Hanazono in the late Kamakura period (1185-1333). Myoshin-ji Temple was originally founded in 1335, when Emperor Hanazono became hoou (pope), and planned to convert the Hanazono Gosho (Villa Hagiwara-dono) into a Zen temple. However, in 1337, Daito-kokushi Shuho Myocho, Emperor Hanazono’s Zen master and the founder of Daitoku-ji Temple, died, and in 1342, Kanzan Egen, who was recommended by Shuho Myocho, returned to Kyoto from Mino and Myoshin-ji Temple was founded. Shobozan Myoshin-ji Temple was named by Shuho Myocho after the words of Shaka (Shakuson), the founder of Buddhism, to his disciple Makakasho: “Shobo Genzo, Nehan Myoshin (正法眼蔵 涅槃妙心)”. Myoshin-ji Temple was a branch temple of Daitoku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Daitoku-ji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. In 1338, Emperor Hanazono built Gyokuhoin and visited Kanzan Egen. Gyokuhoin Kaizando is said to be the birthplace of Myoshin-ji Temple. In 1347, Emperor Hanazono wrote about his passion for Myoshin-ji Temple in the “Onen-no-Shinkan”. Emperor Hanazono died in 1348, and Kanzan Egen died in 1360. In 1398, Myoshin-ji Temple became the prayer temple of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate. When Ouchi Yoshihiro had rebelled against Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Setsudo Soboku, the 6th head monk of Myoshin-ji Temple, who had a mentor-religion relationship with Ouchi Yoshihiro, incurred Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s wrath and was imprisoned in Shoren-in Temple. Myoshin-ji Temple was confiscated and abolished, and the name of the temple was changed to Ryuun-ji Temple.
In 1432, Myoshin-ji Temple was returned and Nippo Soshun, the 4th ancestor of Myoshin-ji Temple, revived Myoshin-ji Temple. During the Bunan period (1444-1449), Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, donated the temple grounds to Myoshin-ji Temple. It was destroyed by fire during the Onin War (1467 – 1477) in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573). Ryoan0ji Temple, sub-temple outside the grounds of Myoshin-ji Temple, was also destroyed by fire. In 1476, an account book was created, and it is said that this was the origin of the Soroban-dura. In 1477, Seko Soshin, the 6th ancestor of Myoshin-ji Temple, rebuilt Myoshin-ji Temple with the imperial order of the 103rd Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado and the support of the Muromachi Shogunate Kanrei, Hosokawa Katsumoto and his son. Ryusen-an Temple, one of the four schools of Myoshin-ji Temple, was founded in 1481 and Tokai-an Temple, one of the four schools of Myoshin-ji Temple, was founded in 1484. Myoshin-ji Temple became independent from Daitoku-ji Temple during the Eisho period (1504-1521), and it is said to have become a temple of the same status as Daitoku-ji Temple in 1509 by the imperial order of the 104th Emperor Go-Kashiwabara. It is also said that Myoshin-ji Temple and Daitoku-ji Temple became insulated. In 1509, Ritei-ni, the daughter of Ichijo Kaneyoshi, purchased land in Ninna-ji Temple and donated it to Myoshin-ji Temple, which expanded the temple grounds to their present size. Later, Shichido-garan (seven halls) were built, and sub-temples were also built. Shotaku-in Temple, one of the four schools of Myoshin-ji Temple, was founded in 1523 and Reiun-in Temple, one of the four schools of Myoshin-ji Temple, was founded in 1526. Myoshin-ji Temple is administered by the “Shiha-shihonan” group consisting of Ryusen-an Temple, Tokai-an Temple, Shotaku-in Temple, and Reiun-in Temple. In 1582, the Honnoji-no-Hen (incident) occurred, and Oda Nobunaga’s younger sister, Oichi, held a 100-day memorial service for Oda Nobunaga at Myoshin-ji Temple. In 1591, Jikishi Sogaku, the 51st head monk of Myoshin-ji Temple, conducted the funeral service for Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s son, Tsurumatsu (Sutemaru). After the Sekigahara-no-Tatakai (Battle of Sekigahara) in 1600, Ishida Shigeie, the eldest son of Ishida Mitsunari, was ordained at Myoshin-ji Temple and his life was saved. In 1614, the Hokoji Shomei Jiken (incident) occurred, and Kaizan Genshu, the head monk of Shoun-ji Temple, defended the Toyotomi family, which angered Tokugawa Ieyasu, the 1st Shogun of the Edo Shogunate, in 1615, and Myoshin-ji Temple was strictly controlled by the Edo Shogunate and imposed on the “Myoshinji Hotto”, which remained in force until 1632. In 1629, the monks of Myoshin-ji Temple and Daitoku-ji Temple protested to the Edo Shogunate over the Shie Jiken (incident), but Tanden Shiin, Takuan Soho, and others were punished. After the Meiji Restoration, due to the separation of Shinto and Buddhism and the Haibutsukisha, the number of sub-temples of Myoshin-ji Temple, which numbered over 100 at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), was reduced by half.
*reference・・・Myoshin-ji Temple website

【Myoshin-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Hato (Hato Hall, 法堂, Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1656 or 1657. Hato has a Shumidan in the center, where the head monk preaches Buddhism and holds memorial services. In Hato, there is a 12-meter diameter painting of Unryu-zu (Dragon) on the mirrored ceiling by the painter Kano Tanyu.
★Butsuden (Buddha Hall, 仏殿, Important Cultural Property)was rebuilt in 1827. Butsuden houses the statues of Shaka Nyorai, Makakasho and Anansonja in the shumidan. In addition, Daruma-daishi, Hyakujo-zenji, and Rinzai-zenji are enshrined in Soshido, the gods of Dokyo are enshrined in Dochido , and the ancestral tablets of Ritei-ni, Kenshoin, Akechi Mitsuhide and others are enshrined in Shido.
★San-mon (San-mon Gate, 三門, Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1599. San-mon is said to be the 3rd oldest gate in Kyoto after San-mon of Tofuku-ji Temple and San-mon of Daitoku-ji Temple. San-mon houses the statues of Enzu-daishi (Kannon Bosatsu), Zenzai-doji, Gakkai-choja, and Jyuroka-rakan in the upper part of the gate. San-mon is decorated with hiten and hoou (phoenix) on the pillars and other parts of the gate.
妙心寺見どころ (Myoshin-ji Temple Highlight)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★San-mon Zan-hoe (山門懺法会) is held every year on June 18th. San-mon Zan-hoe is a Buddha service to confess of one’s own mistakes that one unknowingly commits on a daily basis. On San-mon Zan-hoe, all the monks of Myoshin-ji Temple gather at the upper part of San-mon, where Enzu-daishi (Kannon Bosatsu), Zenzai-doji, Gakkai-choja, and Jyuroka-rakan are housed, and perform the memorial service.

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-463-3121

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Myoshin-ji Temple is to Ryoan-ji Temple on the north side of the temple, although it is a little further away. Ryoan-ji Temple is a sub-temple outside the Myoshin-ji precinct and is known in Japan and abroad for its stone garden. It may be a good idea to get lost in the stone garden. There are more than 30 sub-temples within the Myoshin-ji precinct, and a walk through them is also recommended.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Myoshin-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山