Sembon Emmado

Temples & Shrines: Sembon Emmado (Injoji Temple), Kyoto

Sembon Emmado 千本閻魔堂

Sembon Emmado (Injoji Temple) is a small Buddhist temple located north of Imadegawa Dori on Senbon Dori, a short walk north of Kuginuki Jizo, past the shopping arcade (shotengai) on the left hand side of the road.

Injoji Temple deifies Emma (Yama), the King of Hell.

Sembon Emmado can also be visited in a half a day temple and shrine tour along with Hirano Jinja, Sembon Shakado and Kitano Tenmangu in north west Kyoto.

Sembon Emmado aka Injoji Temple, Kyoto.
The Main Hall at Sembon Emmado (Injoji Temple) is dedicated to Emma, the King of Hell
Sembon Emmado aka Injoji Temple, Kyoto.
Main Hall, Sembon Emmado aka Injoji Temple, Kyoto

Sembon Emmado is a Shingon temple of Japanese Buddhism and was founded way back in the 11th century. Sembon Emmado is associated with death and earthly sin, possibly due to the location of nearby Mount Funaoka, where funerals were held during the Heian Period and thereafter.

The grounds of Sembon Emmado Temple are unremarkable but contain various Buddhist statues of interest.

The entrance enclosure has a weathered, wooden, statue of Binzuru, a disciple of the historical Indian Buddha. The walls here were damaged by fire in the 1970's but are covered with paintings depicting the various Buddhist hells, and include Emma, the king of hell, in jurisdiction over sinners.

The main attraction, however, is the statue of Emma within the main hall (honden). The statue is 2.5m tall and is clothed in Chinese style.

Many images of Jizo, along with a number of gravestones, have been collected and stored behind the main hall. The temple receives most visitors during the Obon festival in August when the spirits of the dead are thought to return to earth.

Sembon Emmado is also known for its rare varieties of late-flowering cherry trees and an impressive stone pagoda in the grounds.

Judith Clancy's book Exploring Kyoto: On Foot in the Ancient Capital is an excellent guide to this fascinating and relatively little-visited area of western Kyoto.

Sembon Emmado aka Injoji Temple, Kyoto.
Sembon Emmado (Injoji Temple), Kyoto
Sembon Emmado aka Injoji Temple, Kyoto.
Sembon Emmado (Injoji Temple), Kyoto

Sembon Emmado Access - how to get to Sembon Emmado in Kyoto

Sembon Emmado
Kamigyo-ku, Senbon, Rozanji agaru Emma-mae-cho 34, Kyoto 602-8307
Tel: 075 462 3332
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission Free, but charge to enter the inner hall.

Sembon Emmado is located north of Imadegawa on west side of Sembon Dori.

Kyoto buses #206 from Kyoto Station, #59 from Shijo Kawaramachi, #46 from Shijo Omiya and Raku Bus #101 all run close to the temple.

Motor bikes on Sembon Dori outside Sembon Emmado, Kyoto.
Motor bikes on Sembon Dori outside Sembon Emmado, Kyoto.

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