Shōgo-in Monzeki is the sohonzan head temple of the Honzan sect of the Shugendō religion which was founded by the ascetic and mystic En no Gyōja.
Honzan refers to the head temple of any given religious sect. Depending on the sect, such temples will also sometimes function as a center for the sect as well.
Additionally, while honzan translates to head temple, there are sohonzan as well. Sohonzan are the highest-ranked temples of some religious sects and govern over all the honzan head temples of said sect.
The Shōgo-in Monzeki Temple is also known for the fact that it served as the *Monzeki Temple for generations of the imperial family and imperial court Sekkan families. The temple also once served as the temporary living quarters for Emperor Kōkaku when the imperial palace was damaged by a fire and holds an especially high status among Monzeki Temple.
*Monzeki Temple are temples were the royal family or court royal serve as the head priest.
The Shōgo-in Monzeki Temple serves as the head temple of the *Shugendō religion and is where practitioners known as *Yamabushi gather.
However, Shōgo-in Monzeki has another side; a more beautiful, dazzling side. The temple hall, known as the *shinden, houses over 100 sliding doors beautifully painted by Edo Period renowned painter and Kanō Tan'yū's ward, Masunobu Kanō, and Kanō Einō, the third heir to the Kyogano Kyoto school of Kanō painting.
*1 Shugendō is an ancient Japanese religion based on mountain religions and seeks to attain Buddhist enlightenment through grueling mountainous training.
*2 The practitioners of this religion, Yamabushi, endure the aforementioned grueling training deep within the treacherous mountains of Japan.
*3 The shinden is a hall within the temple where important imperial and court events are held.
▼ Find our report on the special opening here.