Temples & Shrines: Myoshinji
Myoshinji Temple 妙心寺
- Founded in 1337.
- Located in western Kyoto.
- Full of national treasures and cultural properties.
- Zen practice and overnight stays available.
Headquarters of the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect, Myoshinji is a vast, imposing Zen temple complex south of Ryoanji consisting of over forty sub-temples including the beautiful gardens of Taizo-in and Kano school paintings at Reiun-in executed by Motonobu Kano (1476-1559).
The Tenkyuan sub-temple has paintings by Sanraku and Kaifuku-in has a number of caricatures painted by Tan-yu on sliding screens (fusuma). The Keishun-in sub-temple has four small gardens and a tea arbor, while Taizo-in has a dry stone garden also attributed to Motonobu Kano and a modern garden - Yoko-en - laid out by Nakane Kinsaku (1917-1995). Josetsu's famous Zen ink painting "Catching a Catfish with a Gourd" is kept at Taizo-in and a replica is on display.
Daishin-in and Tenkyu-in are other sub-temples with occasional public openings in spring and autumn.
Myoshinji temple also has Japan's oldest bell (a National Treasure), which was cast in 698.
Myoshinji was built on the site of an Imperial villa of the Emperor Hanazono. The Butsuden (Buddha Hall) contains an image of Sakyamuni; the Hatto (Lecture Hall) is decorated with a beautiful picture of a dragon attributed to Tan-yu Kano.
It is possible to stay overnight in one of the subtemples: Daishin-in and Torin-in. For information, call Torin-in: 81-75-463-1334; Daishin-in 81-75-461-5714. Speak slowly.
It is also possible to participate in zen sessions early in the morning.
The sub temples have events throughout the year, such as illuminated gardens and seasonal flowers.
Free admission to the main precincts, which is open twenty-four hours; fees for the sub-temples.
Myoshinji Temple, Kyoto
A ten minute walk from JR Hanazano Station. 5 minutes from Keifuku train line's Myoshinji Station. Bus #59 or #10, Myoshinji-mae.
Tel: 075 463 3121
By bicycle from Kinkakuji to Myoshinji is an easy 5-10 minute ride.
Kyoto Attractions Close To Myoshinji
Myoshinji is close to Ryoanji Temple, Kinkakuji, Ninnaji Temple, Toji-in and the Domoto Insho Museum. Close to the south gate of the temple is the Michelin-listed restaurant Ajiro, which serves Zen vegetarian food (shojin ryori).