History of Manshuin Monzeki Temple
Manshuin, in the eastern district of Kyoto, known as Higashiyama, was founded in the 8th century by the Buddhist monk Saicho (Dengyo Daishi) and originally stood on nearby Mount Hiei.
A Tendai sect temple, Manshuin was first known as Tobibo, but was renamed in the 12th century and moved to its present location in Higashiyama in 1656.
Manshuin is also known as Manshuin Monzeki - a monzeki temple has as its head priest a member of the Imperial family or a member of one of the Regency families, who traditional advised the Emperor at the Gosho Imperial Palace in Kyoto and intermarried with the Imperial family.
Ryosho, the first head priest of Manshuin in its present location, was the son of Prince Toshihito, who constructed Katsura Imperial Villa. The two sites share the same dedication to the tea ceremony and fine art.
Manshuin's Tiger Room has paintings by Kano Eitoku (1543-1590) of the famed Kano School of artists - court painters to the Tokugawa, whose motto was "a brush stroke unchanging for a thousand years." The Peacock Room has images by the artist Ganku (1749-1839).
The Great Shoin, the main hall, is listed as an Important Cultural Property. The Waterfall Room within has sliding doors and byobu folding screens by another Kano School artist, Kano Tanyu (1602-1674).
The Small Shoin, a subsidiary hall, has more paintings by Kano Tanyu and a tea ceremony room.
Manshuin is very popular in spring and fall for its cherry blossoms and maple leaves framed against the backdrop of Mt. Hiei and the forested mountains of Higashiyama.
Manshuin's main garden is a rock garden in the karesansui style of Japanese gardens and contains a 400-year-old spreading white pine tree.
Manshuin is along the trail of a wonderful walk in eastern Kyoto that covers many beautiful temples.
Manshuin Monzeki (Official site in Japanese)
Takenouchi 42, Ichijoji, Sakyo-ku
Tel: 075 781 5010
Admission 600 yen; 9am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Ichijoji Station on the Eiden (Eizan) Railways from Demachiyanagi, walk east toward the hills in the distance (Mt. Hiei). Cross Shirakawa Dori (street) and continue straight. Walk up the slope. On your right before you come to the gate of Shisendo, turn left, walk past Enkoji on your right and follow the signs to Manshuin. Alternatively take a number #5 bus from Kyoto Station and get off at the Ichijoji-sagarimatsu-cho bus stop.