Sanzen-in Temple (Ojo-Gokurakuin,location,history)

Sanzen-in Temple, Ojo-Gokurakuin

The information about Sanzen-in Temple is presented here. It is said that Ojo-Gokurakuin of Sanzen-in Temple was built in the late Heian period (794-1185) by Eshin-sozu Genshin, author of “Ojo Yoshu” and the founder of the Tendai Jodo sect, together with his elder sister Anyo-ni, for the repose of their parents’ bodhi. Ojo-Gokurakuin houses the statue of Amida Sanzon, with Amida Nyorai in the center, and was painted with dancing tennyo (celestial maidens), and various bodhisattvas depicted in rich colors, representing Gokuraku Jodo (Pure Land of Paradise).

【Sanzen-in Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 540 Ohara Raigoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Ohara bus stop (about 10 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (March-October), 8:30-17:00 (November), 9:00-16:00 (December-February)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 700 yen, High and Junior High Students 400yen, Elementary School Students 150 yen

【Sanzen-in Temple History】

In 788, Dengyo-daishi Saicho, the founder of the Tendai sect, built a hermitage called Ichijo Shikan-in Temple, which houses the main statue of Yakushi Nyorai, on Mt. Hiei-zan. Ichijo Shikan-in Temple is the predecessor of Enryaku-ji Temple (延暦寺). Sanzen-in Temple (三千院) is said to have originated when Dengyo-daishi Saicho founded Enryaku-ji Temple and built a do (hall) under a large pear tree in the Minamidani of the Toto on Mt. Hiei-zan, calling it Ennyubo (円融房). In the early Heian period (794-1185), Jikaku-daishi Ennin, the 3rd Tendai Zasu, took over Sanzen-in Temple. Jikaku-daishi Ennin studied under Dengyo-daishi Saicho, who had returned from To (China), served Dengyo-daishi Saicho for the last 14 years, and became the 3rd Tendai Zasu in 854. In 860, Joun, a disciple of Jikaku-daishi Ennin, built a temple complex and housed the statue of Yakushi Nyorai), which carved by Dengyo-daishi Saicho, and named it Enyuin (円融院). Joun also built Satobo of Enyuin in Kajii-no-sato, Higashi-Sakamoto (Sakamoto, Otsu City), at the foot of Mt. Hiei-zan. In 1086, the headquarters of the temple was moved to Kajii-no-sato and named it Entokuin (円徳院). In 1118, Saiun Hoshinno, a prince of the 73rd Emperor Horikawa, entered the temple, and Sanzen-in Temple became miya-monzeki temple, where the prince and members of the imperial family served as head monks (monzeki). Saiun Hoshinno became the 14th Kajii-monzeki monk in 1130. Sanzen-in Temple was named Kajii-no-miya from the place name Kajii, and kajii, the well used for esoteric Buddhist practices and blessings. In 1156, Saiun Hoshinno was appointed Tendai Zasu. In the same year, the mandokoro of Kajii-monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple) was established in Ohara at the western foot of Mt. Hiei-zan. The mandokoro administered temples called Daigen-ji Temple, such as Raigo-in Temple and Shorin-in Temple. In 1232, Kajii-monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple) in Kajii-no-sato suffered a fire and was moved to Kyoto City. After that, Kajii-monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple) moved from place to place in Rakuchu and Higashiyama of Kyoto City. In 1331, Kajii-monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple) moved to the eastern foot of Funaoka-yama in the northern part of Kyoto. During the Onin War (1467-1477) in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Kajii-monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple) was burned down, and the mandokoro in Ohara became the Honbo (main temple). It is said that in 1571, when Oda Nobunaga burned down Enryaku-ji Temple associated to the Azai and Asakura clans, the Kajii-monzeki monk was moved to Ohara. In 1698, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the 5th shogun of the Edo shogunate, gave the temple site at Goshamichi Hirokoji near the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Jiin Hoshinno, and the Honbo (main temple) was moved from Ohara. After the Meiji Restoration, the Buddhist statues and utensils from the Honbo (main temple) were sent to the mandokoro in Ohara. In 1871, the mandokoro in Ohara became the main temple, and the temple name was changed to Sanzen-in Temple.
*reference・・・Sanzen-in Temple website

【Sanzen-in Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Ojo-Gokurakuin (往生極楽院, Important Cultural Property) is said to have been built in 1148. Ojo-Gokurakuin is a small do (hall) with a 2.3 meter high statue of the Amida Sanzon (Amida Nyorai, Kannon Bosatsu, and Seishi Bosatsu) are housed throughout the do (hall). Ojo-Gokurakuin is said to be Amidado.
★Kyakuden (客殿) was built with old materials from the rebuilding of Shishinden of the Imperial Palace by Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Keicho period (1596-1614). Kyakuden was decorated with barrier paintings by Japanese painters who were active in Kyoto art circles, such as Suzuki Shonen, Takeuchi Seiho, Kikuchi Hobun, Mochiduki Gyokusen, and Imao Keinen, but they were moved to Enyuzo.
★Konjiki-Fudodo (金色不動堂) was built in 1989. Konjiki-Fudodo is a prayer hall where goma and kito are held. Konjiki-Fudodo houses an about 97 cm tall statue of Fudo Myoo, whichi is said to have been created by Chisho-daishi Enchin.
三千院見どころ (Sanzen-in Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Hatsuuma Daikon-daki (初午大根焚き) is held every year around the first horse day in February. At Hatsuuma Daikon-daki, daikon-daki (radish) is burned and prayers are made for good health, happiness and good fortune. The daikon (radish) used for daikon-daki is organically grown in Ohara.
★Fudo-taisai (不動大祭) is held every year from mid-April to mid-May. During Fudo-taisai, the statue of Fudo Myoo, a hidden Buddha housed in Konjiki-Fudodo, is opened to the public. Hibutu Kaibi-hoyo and Saito Ogooma-ku are held during Fudo-taisai.
★Manto-e (万灯会) is held every year on August 12th. It is said that Ojo-Gokurakuin was built to pray for the Gokuraku Jodo (Pure Land of Paradise), and Manto-e is said to be held to pass on these prayers to future generations.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is around mid-April. About 300 cherry trees, including Namida-no-sakura, Yama-zakura, weeping cherry trees, and Somei Yoshino, are planted and the weeping cherry trees around Goten-mon Gate are beautiful. Namida-no-sakura is planted in the corner of Shuheki-en Garden.
★The best time to see hydrangeas (アジサイ) is from mid-June to early July. Thousands of hydrangeas, including ko-ajisai, hoshi-ajisai, and yama-ajisai, are planted in the hydrangea garden, and it is said that the scenery of the pretty hydrangeas and towering cedar trees is beautiful.
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is around mid-November. Maple trees and other trees are distributed, and it is said that the scenery of the autumn leaves, Shuheki-en Garden, Yusei-en Garden and a 50-meter approach is said to be beautiful.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

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

Tel: +81-75-744-2531

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Sanzen-in Temple is to take a walk around Ohara, where Sanzen-in Temple is located, and along the Takano-gawa River. Around Sanzen-in Temple, there are temples such as Ohara Nenbutsu-ji Temple, Jikko-in Temple, and Shorin-in Temple, which are recommended to visit. Since Sanzenin Temple is a little far from Kyoto City, you can return to Kyoto City, go to the next sightseeing spot, and walk around the sightseeing spot.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Sanzen-in 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