Apr. 14, 2020 UPDATE
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Shinkyogoku Shopping District’s Seigan-ji Temple is famous for its history of nuns and Rakugo
Seigan-ji Temple is located in the middle of the restaurants and souvenir shops of the busy Shinkyogoku Shopping District. Seigan-ji is the main temple of the Seizan Fukakusa sect of Jodo Buddhism. The history of this temple goes back to the Asuka period (592-710 AD) and thanks to its central location it has since played an important role in the lives of the locals. This temple was originally in Nara, but during the Heian period was moved to Kyoto to its present location when the daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi restored the Teramachi area after it was burned down in the flames of war. This temple is also famous for the many women who became nuns here, like Sei Shonagon and Izumi Shikibu. Also, the high priest of the temple, Sakuden Shonin (also known as Anrakuan Sakuden) is known as the father of Rakugo, a form of traditional Japanese comedy. For this reason the temple is known as a place where you can pray for entertainment prowess and there is a Rakugo event held every October.
The main hall of the temple has burnt down 10 times, but has always been rebuilt. The present one is made of reinforced concrete so it has a somewhat modern atmosphere. The hall enshrines a statue of Amida Nyorai, also known as Amitabha. The hall where the statue is enshrined is a quiet and dignified place that feels safe.
Folding fan mound
Seigan-ji Temple is also famous for the Noh play by Zeami Motokiyo named after the temple, in which Izumi Shikibu plays a role as the bodhisattva of dance and song. For this reason, many people pray for improvement in acting and the performing arts. As folding fans are often used in Rakugo, Seigan-ji Temple and folding fans are often associated. There is even a folding fan mound in the temple.
Write your wishes on a fan
On both sides of the main hall, you can see folding fans with wishes written on them, praying for the improvement of the writer’s acting and skills in the performing arts. Those who work in the creative field can first pray at the folding fan mound, then write their wishes on a folding fan and leave it at the temple.
Grab a temple stamp
After praying, it is a good idea to get a Shuin temple stamp. Seigan-ji Temple is thought to be miracle-worker by many, which is why it’s on so many lists of sacred places. For this reason, you can get many types of Shuin temple stamps here.