Chion-ji Temple (知恩寺)

Hyakumanben Chion-ji Temple, located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, is the Grand Head Temple of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect.
It is famous by its common name, 'Hyakumanben.'
The sango (literally, "mountain name," the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple) is Mt. Chotoku. The ingo, a title given to a Buddhist temple, is Kudokuin. The honzon (principal image of Buddha) is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata). It's one of the four head temples of the Jodo sect in Kyoto and the twenty-second fudasho (temple in which amulets are collected) of Honen Shonin's 25 Sacred Sites with historic associations.
Its goeika (song in praise of the Buddha) is, 'I want to see Buddha some day by always praying for Buddha like a stalk of Aoi (hollyhock).'

It was originally a satobo (small village temple) of Kudokuin Temple on Mt. Hiei, which was a residence of Koen Ajari, and was said to have been founded by Ennin early in the Heian period. It had a deep association with Kamo-sha Shrine, located at Imadegawa (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City, around the present-day Sokoku-ji Temple), which was the north of gosho (Imperial Palace) as Jingu-ji Temple (a temple associated with a shrine). It was called Kamo no Kawaraya, based on its location. Because the statue of Shakya nyorai, which was said to have been made by Ennin, was placed there, it was also called Imadegawa Shakado.

Honen sometimes visited this place. It is said that Honen lived at Kamo no Kawaraya temporarily because he had been invited by a Shinto priest of the Kamo. After Honen's nirvana, his disciple Seikanbo Genchi succeeded Kamo no Kawaraya and called it Kudokuin-Jingudo, where he placed the portrait of Honen and enshrined him as the founder. He made it a dojo (place of Buddhist practice or meditation) of nenbutsu (Buddhist prayer) and built a Buddhist temple, and Nyoku called it Kudokuin Chion-ji Temple.

In 1331, during the era of the eighth Zenna Kuen, a plague raged through Kyoto and he performed the ritual of the seven-day nenbutsu Hyakumanben (literally, "a million times") by the order of Emperor Godaigo and ended the plague; consequently, the temple was given the title 'Hyakumanben.'
In 1382, when Sokoku-ji Temple was built, it was moved to Ichijo Ogawa (the town name of Moto Hyakumanben Cho remains at Ichijo-dori, Aburano-koji Agaru, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City).

In 1592, it was moved to Tsuchimikado (Teramachi-dori Kojinguchi Agaru) as instructed by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, in order to change the land of the temples. In the Edo period, it was moved to its present location in Kita Shirakawa in 1662.

Recent situation
Its temple precincts, including the hondo (main hall) and kuri (priest's kitchen and living room) are often lent as the site of a flea market, and it's particularly famous as the site of the 'Autumn Secondhand Book Fair' (usually from the end of October to the beginning of November) held by Kyoto Kosho Kenkyukai (Kyoto Secondhand Book Club).

The cultural property
Important cultural properties (designated by the state)
Color painting on silk of Gama-tekkai
Color painting on silk of the image of Zendo Daichi
Color painting on silk of the image of the Jittai Amida
Color painting on silk of Buddha nirvana
Color painting on silk of Pure Land and mandala
In 1982, a bone wrapped in paper and inscribed with black ink as 'the bone of Honen Shonin' was discovered in the body of the goei (image of a deity, Buddha, royal, noble, etc.).

Tanaka Monzen Cho 103, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture; tel: 075-781-9171

Neighboring facilities
Kyoto University Yoshida Campus
Hyakumanben Crossing: The name of the crossing originates from this temple.

Demachiyanagi Station of the Keihan Electric Railway
Masaaki Morishita Memorial Research Hall

[Original Japanese]