Tofuku-ji Temple(東福寺)
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Tofuku-ji Temple(東福寺)

1. Location-Access

This temple is located in the south-eastern of Rakunan Area in Kyoto near the Senryu-ji.
It takes 3 minutes by JR Nara Line from Kyoto sta. to Tofukuji sta., ten-minute walk.
Or it takes 12 minutes by city bus #N5 from Kyoto sta. to Tofukuji-michi, 5-minute walk.
又は、市バスN5系統 京都駅(約12分)→東福寺道(徒歩5分) )

2. Who was this temple built ?

1) This temple is the lead temple of Tofuki-ji Temple group of Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism, the principality is Syaka Nyorai.
2) In 1236, it was built by instruction of Michiie Kujo, a great state man in Heian Period.
He intended to build to up in Kyoto comparable to Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji Temple in Nara.
Even the name of Tofuku-ji is a combination of one Chinese character from the name of each Temple in Nara.
3) It was regretably burned down but was rebuilt in 15th century to the original plans. At this time, this temple was once one of the five Great Zen Buddhist Temples in Kyoto.
4) Many temple buildings of Tofuku-ji complex survives the destruction of war and fire until late Meiji Era when the Butsuden, Hattto or Lecture Hall were burned down.
(東福寺の数多くの建物は仏殿、法堂が焼失した時も、明治後期まで戦争や火事での破壊を乗り切った。 )

3. What is this temple famous for ?

1) The sights of autumn leaves at Tsutenkyo   紅葉の名所:通天橋

① The red leaves was very famous but in the past it used be a great spot for Sakura.
It is said that sakura trees in the temple was too attractive and disturbing for the training priests, so they cut it down the tree.
(ここの紅葉はとても有名ですが、昔は桜の名所であった。しかし、あまりにも桜が綺麗で 修行の妨げになるため、全てを伐採した。そんな過去があるお寺である。)
② The area which has the bridge “Tsutenkyo” between the main hall and hall for Buddha statue, is a Cannon called “Sengyoukukan” is famous for a great spot for red leaves. Tsutenkyo is also popular because of it often used for location for historic drama shows and TV commercials.

2) Lots of National treasures and Imperial Cultural Properties 国宝、重要文化財の伽藍

① Inside the temple grounds, there are lots of National Treasure and Important Cultural
Properties such as Sanmon gate, Lecture hall, Butsudan and Hatto and so on.
Specially, Sanmon is the oldest Zen Main Buddhist temples in Japan.
② There are “Honbo Gardens” created by Sanrei Morishige which was his early production, and four gardens are placed at four corner of Hojyo Garden with the name of Northen Garden, Southern Garden, Western Garden and Eastern Garden.
These styles of garden is exclusive only for Tofuku-ji.

4.What is highlight ?

1) 禅寺最古の「三門」(国宝) Sonmon

The Sanmon Gate look amazing. Sanmon of Chion-in is known of the “three achievement of enlightment, which represent “Vacuity”, “No form” and “Natural”.
It was constructed by the 4th Muromachi Shogunate, Yoshimochi Asikaga in 1425.
There is a mural painting by Rinzai priest, Mincho Kichizan in the second floor.

2) 日本最大の「禅堂」(重要文化財)Zendo

In 1347, Zendo was rebuilt with 42m length north-south by 22m length east-west in the largest size in Japan. About 400 priests were practicing.

3) 東福寺三名「臥雲橋」「通天橋」「偃月橋」  Gaunkyo, Tsuutenkyo, Engetsukyo

There are a Segyokukan valley on the north side of the main temple. It is spanned by the three bridges Gaunkyo Bridge, Tsutenkyo Bridge and Engetsukyo Bridge, from west to east.
① 臥雲橋  Gaunkyo
Gaunkyou is a wooden bridge over a Segyokukan valley in the west side.
② 通天橋  Tuntenkyo
In 1961, Tutenkyo was rebuilt and a wooden bridge over a Sengyokukan valley.
③ 偃月橋   Engetsukyo (Important Cultural Property)
In1603, Engetsukyo was rebuilt and a wooden bridge from Tofuku-ji to Ryogin-in, Sokusyo-in.

4) 本坊庭園(重要文化財) Honbo Garden

There are some typical obstract Zen gardens which are quite different each other.
The arrangement of these four gardens around the temple building, are a rare example of Zen dry style garden of Buddhist temple. They were recently rebuilt by Mirei Shigemori.

5) 東福寺七不思議  Tofuku-ji Seven Wonders

① 猫入り涅槃図 Cat with spear illustration
② 日本最古の「東司」 The oldest priest’s toilet in Japan.
③ 仏像浮彫りの「魔王石」 Buddha relief “ Demon Stone”
④ 日蓮上人が寄進した「日蓮柱」 “Nichiren Pillar” donated by Nichiren
⑤ 竜頭のない鐘 A bell without dragon head
⑥ 十万不動尊 100,000 Fudoson
⑦ 細川遺愛石  Sosokawa Iaiseki