善峰寺Yoshimine-dera Temple

善峰寺Yoshimine-dera Temple is a 天台Tendai Buddhist temple located among hills in the western part of Kyoto; it is the 20th temple for the 西国三十三所Saigoku Sanjuusan-sho (Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage). It was founded by 源算Gensan, a priest and disciple  of 源信Genshin, as his retreat in 1029; in 1467 it was burned down during the 応仁の乱Onin War but was rebuilt again in 1621 by 桂昌院Keishoin, the birth mother of the 5th 徳川将軍Tokugawa Shogun, 徳川綱吉Tsuanyoshi Tokugawa.

I’ve been wanting to write about this temple for a while because it was such a fascinating and fun visit.

Mr. Man drove me to Yoshimine in mid-February 2009 because it was on the list of temples participating in the 数珠巡礼Juzu Junrei (Rosary Pilgrimage). When we got out after driving up to the parking lot, I was a bit nauseous from the ride and being up so high but we still had a way to go before getting to the main entrance of the temple.

the bridge to the steep climb up to Yoshimine after parking nearby

DSCF0873 (retouched)

the route

DSCF0875 (retouched)

only halfway up the zig-zag path

DSCF0880

finally the entrance…to the main entrance

DSCF0883

a jizo along the stairs up to the main entrance

DSCF0885

FINALLY the 山門sanmon (楼門roumon), or the two-storied main entrance gate

DSCF0886

one of the guardians of the temple through the glass (there are two)

DSCF0887

right after paying the ¥500 entrance fee and entering…the stairs lead to the 本堂hondoh (main hall)

DSCF0890

the main hall, also called 観音堂Kannon-doh where the statue of Kannon carved by Gensan is

DSCF0894

We aren’t allowed to take pictures in the main hall; however, outside of it was okay.

the view down toward the entrance from the side of the main hall

DSCF0897

the pond on one side of the main hall

DSCF0899

roof-tile emas on the other side of the hall

DSCF0901

We ended up not going into the main hall; instead, we took the stairs up to the area that has “the best pine tree in Japan”.

The route for the temple was numbered, that was how we kept track of where to go.

鐘楼堂 (つりがね堂) shohroh-doh (tsurigane-doh), or hanging bell tower… the sound of the bell wards off evil.

DSCF0906 (retouched)

the 経堂kyodoh (sutra library)

DSCF0908

an ema with an illustration of the famous pine tree and a prayer from a student to pass entrance exams for high school inside the kyodoh which is also known as the 絵馬堂emadoh where visitors hang up prayers written on wooden plates

DSCF0911

the famous 遊龍の松Yuuryuu no Matsu, or “Gliding Dragon” pine tree, deemed 日本一の松Nippon-ichi no matsu (“Japan’s best pine tree”) and a 国の天然記念物kuni no tennen-kinenbutsu (national natural monument)…the base of the two-meter-tall, 40-meter-wide 600-year-old tree is to the right of the roof in the picture.

DSCF0913

the shrine for the 幸福地蔵Kohfuku-Jizoh, the jizo who brings happiness, who invites us to pray for happiness for others than ourselves.

DSCF0919

looking down from the Shaka-doh at the 鎮守社chinjusha (tutelary shrine for the local patron spirit), 宝篋印塔Hokyoin (sutra) pagoda and the kyodoh with the 桂昌院廟 Keishoin Shrine further back

DSCF0926

stone wash basin

DSCF0929

view of Kyoto

DSCF0930

the 釈迦堂Shaka-doh where Gautama Buddha is enshrined

DSCF0931

The view gets better the higher one goes up.

DSCF0937

the 薬師堂Yakushi-doh which houses the wooden statue of 薬師如来Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing

DSCF0944

Keishoh-den, or Keisho Pavillion in honor of Keishoin

DSCF0947

the pond in 蓮華寿院庭Rengejuin Garden

DSCF0954

青蓮の滝Shouren Waterfall

DSCF0963

阿弥陀堂Amida-doh where the enshrined statue of the Jodo Buddha, Amida, is

DSCF0971

going back to where we came from to head home

DSCF0973

Mr. Man got our rosary beads at the gate that we came in before we headed out; while I waited for him, I read an article hung up in the rest area for visitors nearby about a truck driver who was saved from falling off a collapsed bridge by an お守りo-mamori (good-luck charm) he bought at Yoshimine; now many students who come to buy that good-luck charm,  going by the name, “おちないお守りochinai o-mamori“, after the incident, so that they don’t fail important exams…”おちないochinai” means “to not fail (exam)” in Japanese.

Although I was physically tired from exploring the huge area that is Yoshimine, I went away satisfied and feeling that it was one of the most ideal visits to a temple that I’ve had in Japan.

Advertisements
This entry was published on April 23, 2014 at 09:00. It’s filed under Temple and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “善峰寺Yoshimine-dera Temple

  1. I thought we had been to all temples in Kyoto before reading your post. This autumn alone we went to 12 temples in eastern and western Kyoto.

    Is this temple difficult to reach?

    • Wow, 12 temples in a season is quite a feat considering temples are usually spread out all over the city and the bigger ones require at least half a day for a thoroughly satisfying experience. I was driven to the temple, and not during such a busy season, so it was quite easy…I’m not sure where you plan to ride from but after researching both English and Japanese sites, I hear you can get there by either taking the JR京都線Kyoto Line from 京都駅Kyoto Station to 向日町駅Mukomachi Station (7 minutes, ¥180) or the 阪急京都線Hankyu Kyoto Line from central Kyoto to 東向日駅Higashimuko Station (20 minutes, ¥220), finally taking 阪急バスHankyu Bus #66 善峯寺行き (30 minutes, ¥350 one way with one bus/hr) until “善峯寺Yoshimiene-dera”. Hope this was helpful and I wish you as pleasant a visit as I had!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: