Manpukuji Temple 黄檗山萬福寺
Founded by zen master Yin-yuan, known in Japanese as Ingen Ryuki (1592-1673), Mampuku-ji (or Manpukuji) is located south of Kyoto in Uji. Manpukuji is the head of the Okaku sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.
Ingen was originally from China, where he was head priest at Obaku-san Zempukuji in Fujian Province. At the advanced age of 65 he was invited to Japan by the Chinese community in Nagasaki.
He came with an entourage of disciples and craftsmen and began teaching Rinzai Buddhism. He was granted some 80 acres on which Mampukuji was founded in 1661 and built in Ming Chinese style - which makes it an unusual building in Japan.
The first thirteen abbots of Manpukuji were all Chinese immigrants, which continued the Chinese influence on the temple which served as a conduit for fresh ideas in such varied fields as art, calligraphy, diet and medicine from the Asian continent.
Mampukuji Temple is famed for its pine trees and architecture. The Japan Sencha Tea Ceremony has its headquarters at Mampukuji and organizes a large gathering in May every year.
Altogether there are over 20 buildings in the temple complex, many of them made from teak imported from China and Thailand.
The main object of worship at Manpukuji is an image of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni (Gautama Buddha). There is also an unusual image of Hotei, the Chinese "Laughing Buddha" or "Fat Buddha" seated on a raised dais.
The temple's museum (Bunkaden), which is open in spring and autumn, has an image of Ingen and a complete set of Buddhist scriptures, completed in 1678, after 17 years of work.
The temple has two vegetarian restaurants, one inside the grounds, one, called Hakuun-an (Tel: 0774 31 8017) just outside, serving fucha ryori, similar to shojin ryori, but with a Chinese feel. Reservations are required, three days in advance for the restaurant within the temple itself.
Open 9 am to 4:30pm daily. 500 yen for adults.
Manpukuji Access - how to get to Manpukuji
From Kyoto Station, take either the JR Nara line or Keihan-Uji line. Get off at Obaku Station, which is one stop before Uji and is serviced only by local trains. Walk several minutes to the north.
34 Sanban Wari, Gokasho
Tel: 0774 32 3900