Sennyu-ji Temple (Yokihi Kannondo,location,history)

Sennyu-ji Temple, Yokihi Kannondo

The information about Sennyu-ji Temple is presented here. In the area at the foot of Mt. Tsukinowa-san (Mt. Sennyuji-san) where Sennyu-ji Temple is built, there are the ryobo (mausoleum) of successive emperors and empresses whose funerals were held at Sennyu-ji Temple, and called Tsukinowa-no-Misagi. Sennyu-ji Temple is called “Mitera Sennyu-ji” because of its long association with the imperial family. Sennyu-ji Temple is still visited by members of the imperial family.

【Sennyu-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 27 Sennyuji Sannai-Cho, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Sennyuji-michi bus stop (about 7 minutes on foot), JR Tofukuji Station (about 15 minutes on foot), Keihan Tofukuji Station (about 15 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

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

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 500 yen, Elementary School Students and under 300 yen

【Sennyu-ji Temple History】

Sennyu-ji Temple (泉涌寺) is said to have originated in 855, when Fujiwara no Otsugu gave a villa to the monk Jinshu-Shonin, who converted it into a temple and named it “Senyu-ji Temple”. Sennyu-ji Temple is also said to have originated during the Tencho period (824-833) when Kobo-Daishi Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect, built a soan (hermitage) and named it “Hourin-ji Temple”. Sennyu-ji Temple was founded in 1218 by Gachirin-daishi Shunjo, after Utsunomiya Nobufusa, a vassal of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate, donated Senyu-ji Temple, which had fallen into ruin. Sennyu-ji Temple also received a large sum of money (junken) from the 82nd Emperor Go-Toba and his elder brother Morisada-shinno. Construction of a large temple complex in the So (Chinese) style began, and the main temple buildings were completed in 1226. The name of the temple was changed to “Sennyu-ji Temple” because clear water gushed out from the temple grounds. The clear water continues to flow from the temple to this day. Gachirin-daishi Shunjo planned to restore the precepts after his return from So (China), and Sennyu-ji Temple was a study of the four sects of Tendai, Shingon, Zen, and Jodo based on Ritsu. At Sennyu-ji Temple, Gachirin-daishi Shunjo is considered the founder of the temple. In 1224, Sennyu-ji Temple became a kanji (official temple) and was designated as a chokuganji (imperial temple) by the imperial order of the 86th Emperor Go-Horikawa. After Emperor Go-Horikawa’s death in 1234, the ryobo (mausoleum) was built. In 1227, Gachirin-daishi Shunjo died, and in 1411, the 100th Emperor Go-Komatsu gave the title “Daiko Soho-kokushi”, in 1726, the 114th Emperor Nakamikado gave the title “Daien Kakushinsho-Kokushi”, and in 1883, the 122nd Emperor Meiji gave the title “Gachirin-daishi”. In 1242, the 87th Emperor Shijo died at the age of 12, and his funeral was held at Sennyu-ji Temple, where the ryobo (mausoleum) was also built. After that, the funerals of the emperors from the Nanbokucho period (1337-1392) to the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1603) and the emperors and empresses from the 107th Emperor Goyozei to the 121st Emperor Koumei of the Edo period (1603-1868) were also held at Sennyu-ji Temple, and the ryobo (mausoleum) established at Sennyu-ji Temple was named Tsukinowa Misagi. In 1255, Tankai brought Buddha’s tooth relics and the statues of Yokihi Kannon, Jyuroku Rakan, Gakaichojya, Idaten, etc. from So (China). In 1336, the army of Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, set up camp at Sennyu-ji Temple, and suffered arson and looting. In 1374, the fourth Northern Court Emperor Go-kogon died, and his cremation and burial took place at Sennyu-ji Temple. It is said that Sennyu-ji Temple was completely destroyed by fire during the Onin War (1467-1477) in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573). In 1486, Kaizando was rebuilt, and the 103rd Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado gave the temple the imperial inscription, “Reiko”. In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi guaranteed 494 koku of temple land. In 1615, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Shogunate, guaranteed 601 koku of temple land. In 1669, Tokugawa Ietsuna, the fourth shogun of the Edo Shogunate, began rebuilding Sennyu-ji Temple by the order of the 108th Emperor Go-Mizunoo and the 112th Emperor Reigen. In 1718, Dai-Nehanzu by the artist monk Meiyo Kokan, was dedicated to Sennyu-ji Temple. During the Edo period (1603-1868), the 108th Emperor Go-Mizunoo to the 121st Emperor Komei were buried in Sennyu-ji Temple, and the temple was respectfully called “Mitera”. After the Meiji Restoration, the administration of the ryobo (mausoleum) was transferred from Sennyu-ji Temple to the Shoryoryo of the Kunaisho (Ministry). In 1876, the Nenjibutsu (statue of Buddha), which had been housed the okuro (butsu-ma) of Kyoto Imperial Palace, was moved to kaieido of Sennyu-ji Temple. In 1878, the ryobo (mausoleum) came under the jurisdiction of the Kunaisho (Ministry).
*reference・・・Sennyu-ji Temple website

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

★Butsuden (Buddha Hall, 仏殿, Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1668 by Tokugawa Ietsuna, the fourth shogun of the Edo Shogunate. Butsuden houses the statues of Shaka Nyorai (present), Amida Nyorai (past), and Miroku Nyorai (afterlife), which carved by the Buddhist sculptor Unkei and representing the past, present, and afterlife. Butsuden has a mirrored ceiling with a magnificent painting of Unryuzu (Dragon) by the painter Kano Tanyu.
★Kaizando (開山堂, Important Cultural Property) was built around the Kanbun period (1661-1672). Kaizando houses an egg-shaped kaizanto (pagoda), which is the tomb of Gachirin-daishi Shunjo, the founder of the Sennyu-ji sect. Kaizanto (pagoda) was built in the early Kamakura period (1185-1274).
★Yokihi Kannondo (楊貴妃観音堂) is said to have been built during the Kanbun period (1661-1673). Yokihi Kannondo houses the statue of Yokihi Kannon. Yokihi Kannon was once called Yoryu Kannon, but it came to be called Yokihi Kannon because of its beautiful face. It is said that Yokihi Kannondo can be as beautiful as Yokihi.
泉涌寺見どころ(Sennyu-ji Temple Highlights

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Senzan Shichifukujin Meguri (泉山七福神巡り) is held every year the day of the coming of age. At Senzan Shichifukujin Meguri, visitors visit the Shichifukujin of Sokujo-in Temple (fukurokujyu), Kaiko-ji Temple (benzaiten), Kannon-ji Temple (ebisu), Raigo-in Temple (fotei), Unryu-in Temple (daikokuten), Hiden-in Temple (bishamonten) and Hoon-in (Jurojin), as well as Shin Zenko-ji Temple and Yokihi Kannondo.
★Nehan-e (涅槃会) is held every year from March 14th to 16th. Nehan-e is a Buddhist memorial service held to commemorate the Buddha’s virtues and rewards. At Nehan-e, a 16-meter long and 8-meter wide painting of Nehanzu, which is said to be the largest in the Japan, is displayed in Butsuden.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is from mid-November to late November. Maple trees and other plants are distributed in temple grounds such as Gozasho Garden, and it is said that the scenery of the autumn leaves, Kaieido and Gozasho Garden is beautiful. When the autumn leaves are at their best, Kamamoto Momijimatsuri is held every year in the area of Sennyu-ji Temple and Tofuku-ji Temple.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

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

Tel: +81-75-561-1551

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Sennyuji Temple is to the south to Tofuku-ji Temple. Tofuku-ji Temple has the sub-Temples built in the temple, and a walk through them is recommended. Tofuku-ji Temple is one of the most famous places in Kyoto for its autumn foliage, and is especially recommended during the autumn foliage season. Sanjusangendo Temple is located on the north side of the temple, and crossing the JR tracks to Sanjusangendo Temple is also recommended.

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

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