central kyoto

Eikando (Zenrinji Temple)

Kyoto’s Best Autumn Display and an Unusual Buddha

Kyoto, the cultural capital of japan, is known for its stunning temples and beautiful natural landscapes. One temple that stands out for its brilliant autumn foliage and unique Buddha statue is Eikando. Located in central Higashiyama, Eikando attracts large crowds during the fall season when its grounds are adorned with vibrant colors. However, this temple is worth visiting throughout the year due to its historical significance and artistic treasures. In this article, we will explore the history of Eikando, its notable features, and how to get there.

Eikando’s History:
Eikando, also known as Zenrinji, Shojuraigo-san, and Muryojuin, was originally a gift from a court noble in the Heian period to a Buddhist priest. This nobleman’s former villa was transformed into a temple in 853, merging the pursuit of leisure and natural beauty with spirituality. The temple has since become a place of worship and a cultural landmark in Kyoto.

Notable Features:
One of the most remarkable aspects of Eikando is its evening illumination during the autumn season. The temple’s grounds are transformed into a magical display of colors, attracting visitors from all over the world. The combination of vibrant foliage and the soft glow of lights creates a serene and enchanting atmosphere. It is a mesmerizing sight that should not be missed.

Another notable feature of Eikando is its unique Buddha statue. Unlike traditional depictions of the Amida Buddha, this statue has its head turned to one side, rather than facing forward. Legend has it that a head monk was performing a ritual for the statue when it suddenly turned to face him and spoke to him. This unusual pose adds an element of mystery and intrigue to the temple’s ambiance.

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Exploring Eikando:
Eikando’s expansive grounds are interconnected by covered walkways, allowing visitors to explore the various buildings and gardens at their own pace. One of the highlights is the Taho-to Pagoda, located atop a steep flight of stairs. From this vantage point, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city below. The temple’s Hojo Pond, surrounded by a scenic garden, is another must-see spot. A small island with a quaint shrine sits in the middle of the pond, creating a picturesque scene.

Visitors can also take the time to appreciate the numerous works of art scattered throughout Eikando. These artistic creations, including statues and paintings, provide insight into the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto. The temple’s aesthetic elements and serene surroundings make it a perfect place for introspection and contemplation.

How to Get There:
Eikando is easily accessible by train from Kyoto Station. Visitors can take the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line to Karasuma Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Subway Line going toward Rokujizo. From there, it is a short 15-minute walk to the temple. The convenient transportation options make Eikando a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Eikando Temple in Kyoto offers a unique cultural experience with its stunning autumn foliage and unusual Buddha statue. The temple’s historical significance, coupled with its artistic treasures, make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. Whether you visit during the fall season to witness the breathtaking display of colors or explore the temple’s serene atmosphere throughout the year, Eikando is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, make sure to include Eikando in your itinerary when visiting Kyoto and immerse yourself in the beauty and spirituality of this remarkable temple.

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Address And Maps Location:

48 Eikando-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

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