Oct 2023 03
Eigen-ji Temple

Eigen-ji Temple | The chirping of wild birds and the sound of the Echi River. Nestled in a secluded setting surrounded by the tranquil mountains and waters

永源寺 | 野鳥のさえずりと愛知川の渓声。うつろう山水にいだかれた幽境に佇む

The babbling of the river. A blue maple sways in the wind. Soft and cool sound. Standing quietly in the mountains of the Echi River, Eigen-ji Temple is the head temple of the Eigenji school of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. It is said that during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, Sasaki Ujiyori, the feudal lord of Omi, welcomed Zen Master Jakushitsu Genko as the founder of the temple and built a monastery.


With the voice of the Echi River faintly audible beyond the silence on your right, climb the stone steps to the shrine. The approach to the shrine is lined with maple trees, and in the early summer when I visited, the green maple leaves gave off a fresh air.


Ear washing water in front of the gate. After hearing the filth of the world, I wash my ears and head to the temple gate.


A majestic mountain gate. It was built in 1802 in the late Edo period after seven years of construction. The Shakyamuni Triad and the Sixteen Arhats are enshrined on the top of the building.


After passing through the main gate, the precincts are lined with the Kuri, bell tower, abbot's quarters, teaching hall, Zendo, Kaisando, etc. The main hall has a large reed-thatched roof, which is rare in Japan. The statue of Sho Kannon, which is the principal object of worship, is also called “Yotsugi Kannon”, and it is said that if you pray for it, you will be blessed with children and heirs.


Successive generations of high priests gathered at Eigen-ji Temple, and it is said that there were as many as 2,000 monks in training under the patronage of the Sasaki clan at its peak. During the period of war, the temple was destroyed by fire, but in the Edo period, when Issomonmori Zenji settled down, the temples were refurbished with the help of Emperor Gomizunoo and Tofukumonin, as well as the patronage of the Ii clan of the Hikone clan.


In front of the main hall, you can see a watchtower-shaped bell tower with a rare shape of hakama-koshi style, irimoya-zukuri style, and tile-roofed style.


A cool garden. Mirror letters reflected in clear water.


In the small Daihikaku in one corner of the precincts stands a quiet Shokannon.


Founder Jakushitsu Zenji also wrote a poem, "The blue mountain behind the roof, the flowing water in front of the cage." The changing scenery of four seasons still conveys the solemn atmosphere in which countless monks devoted themselves to training.


about this venue

Eigen-ji Temple

Location: 41 Eigenji Koyacho, Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone number: 0748-27-0016

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