Temple established by a Christian feudal lord in 1535
You may probably be surprised that this temple was established by a Christian feudal lord, Otomo Sorin, in 1535 as his Bodai-ji. Bodai-ji is a Japanese Buddhism temple that takes care of a family’s dead and gives them burial and performs ceremonies in their soul’s favor (referred to Japanese dictionary “Iwanami Kojien”). In Zuiho-in Temple, there are several Christian landmarks such as a garden with the cross made by stones, Christian lantern, and so on. The gardens were made by Mirei Shigemori, who was one of the most famous landscape gardeners in 1961 in commemoration of 400 years anniversary of foundation. Otomo Sorin, Don Francisco in his Christian name, worked very hard as a missionary to his followers in Sengoku Era. Though Christianity has never been taught at Zuiho-in Temple, this aspect of the life of its founding patron is both honored and respected as a part of Otomo’s legacy.
This garden was made in the image of the stormy waves beating the rocks. It also expresses the greatness of mother nature. In the back of the garden, there is an area of mosses and stones which represents the calm inlet. The name of this garden came from the word of Zen.
At a first glance, you may not be able to see the figure of the Christian Cross. However, if you look at this garden with your back to the lantern, the figure of the cross would emerge. There are seven stones to make this cross. The buried “hidden” statue is a poignant reminder of the two hundred years during the time Christianity was banned.
Experience Zazen, the Zen meditation
In Zuiho-in Temple, you can experience Zazen, the Zen meditation. The chief priest or temple staff will take you to the main hall and they will explain how it will be and what you should do (only in Japanese or in basic English). Please make a reservation before you visit this temple.
Enjoy Matcha Tea
If you would like to enjoy matcha tea in this temple, please pay the fee at the entrance. It may be a great experience to have matcha in this historical temple. You may be served matcha tea with Japanese dessert.
3.0 experience3.0 access2.5 photogenic3.5
Zuiho-in Temple (inside of Daitoku-ji Temple) / 瑞宝院
|Category||Temples & Shrines, Japanese Gardens|
|Address||81, Murasakino Daitokujicho, Kita-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 603-8231|
|Directions||2-minute walk from city bus Daitokuji-mae stop getting off|
|Open Hours||9am - 5pm|
|Reservations||Please make a reservation if you would like to experience Zazen, the Zen meditation, and matcha tea|
High school students and over ￥400 Junior high school students and under￥300 *Group discount is available for 30 or more Matcha tea ￥400 Zazen, the Zen meditation, and matcha ￥1,500
|Credit cards||Not accepted|
English brochures are available at the entrance. Staff only speak Japanese and basic English.
|Information||Japanese and English|
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese and basic English|