Shoren-in Temple (monzeki temple,location,history)

Shoren-in Temple, monzeki temple

The information about Shoren-in Temple is presented here. At Shoren-in Temple, in the late Heian period (794-1185), the 74th Emperor Toba had his 7th prince, Kakukai Hoshinnoo, enter Shoren-in Temple as a disciple of Gyogen-daisojo, and later Kakukai Hoshinnoo became the 2nd head monk (monshu), and from then on, the sons of the imperial family and the Sekke family became the head monk (monshu). Shoren-in Temple became a prestigious temple and was once one of the three monzeki temples of the Tendai sect, along with Sanzen-in Temple and Myoho-in Temple.

【Shoren-in Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 69-1 Awataguchi Sanjobo-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Jingumichi bus stop (about 3 minutes on foot), Subway Higashiyama Station (about 5 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Registration closes at 16:30)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 500 yen, High and Junior High School Students 400 yen , Elementary School Students 200 yen

【Shoren-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). Shoren-in Temple is said to have originated from Shoren-bo (青蓮坊), one of the jubo (the monks’ abodes) built by Dengyo-daishi Saicho in the Minamidani of the Toto on Mt. Hiei-zan. Shoren-in Temple was one of the three monzeki temples of the Tendai sect, along with Sanzen-in Temple and Myoho-in Temple, both of which originated from the jubo (the monks’ abodes) built on Mt. Hiei-zan. In addition, Manshu-in Temple and Bishamon-do Temple were added, and Shoren-in Temple was counted as one of the Gokashitu monzeki temples of the Tendai sect in Kyoto. In the early Heian period (794-1185), Shoren-in Temple became the jubo (the monks’ abodes) of Jikaku-daishi Ennin, the 3rd Tendai Zasu, who succeeded Dengyo-daishi Saicho, and Ane, the 4th Tendai Zasu, and became the main jubo (the monks’ abodes) of the Toto on Mt. Hiei-zan. It is said that the 74th Emperor Toba temporarily stayed at Shoren-in Temple in 1142, and in 1150 Shoren-in Temple became a prayer temple for Bifukumonin (Fujiwara no Tokushi), the wife of Emperor Toba. In the late Heian period (794-1185), Emperor Toba trusted Gyogen-daisojo, the 12th head monk of Shoren-in Temple, and took Emperor Toba’s 7th prince, Kakukai Hoshinnoo, to Shoren-in Temple as a disciple of Gyogen-daisojo. Shoren-in Temple became the monzeki temple and the temple complex was built at Sanjo Shirakawa was built according to the imperial palace of the Houo (Pope), and the temple name was changed to Seiren-in Temple. Incidentally, Shoren-bo on Mt. Hiei-zan is said to have been abolished during the Muromachi period (1333-1573). Gyogen-daisojo became the 1st head monk (monshu), and Kakukai Hoshinnoo became the 2nd head monk (monshu). Shoren-in Temple reached its peak of prosperity during the reign of Jien (Jichen), the 2nd head monk (monshu), from the end of the Heian period (794-1185) to the early Kamakura period (1185-1333). Jien (Jichen) served as Tendai Zasu four times, wrote the famous historical treatise “Gukan-sho”, and left behind a private collection of poems, “Shugyoku-shu”. In 1181, Shinran-shonin, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect, became a monk under Jien (Jichen). Shoren-bo on Mt. Hiei-zan is said to have burned down in 1194. During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), Shoren-in Temple was moved from Sanjo Shirakawa to its present location to avoid flooding from the Kamo-gawa River. It is said that Shoren-in Temple was burned down in 1216. It is said that in the early Kamakura period(1185-1333), Shoren-in Temple established itself as the monzeki temple along with Sanzen-in Temple. In 1392, Gien, son of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Muromachi Shogun, who became Ashikaga Yoshinori, the 6th Muromachi Shogun, entered Shoren-in Temple, and in 1403, Gien became the head monk (monshu). It is said that Shoren-in Temple was burned down by the sei-gun (western army) during the Onin War (1467-1477) in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573). In 1608, when Tokugawa Ieyasu, the 1st shogun of the Edo shogunate, improved and expanded Chion-in Temple, the area of Shoren-in Temple was reduced. In 1699, when Higashi Otani-byo (Otani Sobyo) was rebuilt, the area of Shoren-in Temple was reduced. When the imperial palace was destroyed by fire in 1788, the 117th Emperor Go-Sakuracho took refuge in Shoren-in Temple as his temporary palace, and it is also called Awata Gosho. After the Meiji Restoration, due to the separation of Shinto and Buddhism and the Hibutsukishaku, the statue of Yakushi Nyorai was moved from Awata Shrine to Shoren-in Temple. The temple area was reduced by the Agechi-rei (decree). In 1893, a fire destroyed many of the temple buildings and after that, reconstruction began.
*reference・・・Shoren-in Temple website

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

★Hondo (Main Hall, 本堂) houses the mandala of Shijuko Nyorai, the main deity of Shijuko-ho, which is said to be the most secret practice of the Tendai sect, and is used to pray for the protection of the nation and the peace of the Imperial Family.
★Sho-Gosho (小御所) was built in Hyogo Prefecture in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868) and was moved to Shoren-in Temple in 1893.
★Shinden (宸殿) was rebuilt in 1895. Shindenl houses the tablets of emperors and successive head monks (monshu) related to Shoren-in Temple. In addition, Ukon-no-Tachibana and Sakon-no-Sakura are planted in front of Shinden.
★The gardens include Soami-no-Niwa Garden, said to have been created by the Muromachi period (1333-1573) painter Soami, and Kirishima-no-Niwa Garden, said to have been created by the Edo period (1603-1868) feudal lord, tea master, and gardener Kobori Enshu. Soami-no-Niwa Garden (Sensui-tei Garden) is a pond spring walking garden centered on Ryushin-ike Pond with Mt. Awata-yama in the background. Kirishima-no-Niwa Garden is planted with Kirishima-tsutsuji (azaleas), and they are in full bloom during Golden Week in early May. In Kirishima-no-Niwa Garden, there is a Mikoshigata-Toro (lantern) that is said to have been donated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
青蓮院見どころ (Shoren-in Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Spring Illumination (春ライトアップ) is held every year to coincide with Cherry Blossom Illumination (桜ライトアップ) of the Shogunduka Seiryuden, which is located in the enclave area. During the spring illumination, Soami-no-Niwa Garden (Sensui-tei Garden) and the entire precinct are illuminated with blue light appropriate for the monzeki Temple.
青蓮院春ライトアップ (Shoren-in Temple Spring illumination)
★Autumn leaves illumination (紅葉ライトアップ) is held every year when the autumn leaves are at their peak. During Autumn leaves illumination, Soami-no-Niwa Garden (Sensui-tei Garden) and Kirishima-no-Niwa Garden are illuminated.
青蓮院紅葉ライトアップ (Shoren-in Temple Autumn leaves illumination)

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is around early April. Unlike Shogunduka Seiryuden, the enclave precincts, where about 200 cherry trees are planted, there are not so many cherry trees, but the sight of Sakon-no-Sakura and Shisinden, and two cherry trees and Shikyaku-mon is beautiful.
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is from mid-November to late November. Maple trees and other trees are planted in Soami-no-Niwa Garden (Sensui-tei Garden) and Kirishima-no-Niwa Garden, and it is said that the scenery of the autumn leaves, Soami-no-Niwa Garden (Sensui-tei Garden) and Kirishima-no-Niwa Garden is beautiful.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

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

Tel: +81-75-561-2345

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Shoren-in Temple is via Chion-in Temple and Maruyama Park to Yasaka Shrine. Yasaka Shrine is one of the most popular tourist sites in Kyoto, both in Japan and abroad. During the cherry blossom season, a side trip to Chion-in Temple and Maruyama Park, which are famous for cherry blossoms, is also recommended. From Shoren-in Temple, it is also recommended to head north to Heian Jingu Shrine. The huge Otorii Gate is the symbol and landmark of Heian Jingu Shrine.

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