Sekizanzenin Temple (赤山禅院)

Sekizanzenin Temple, located at Shugakuin, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, is a temple of the Tendai sect. It is one of the branch temples or tacchu (sub-temples in the site of main temple) of Enryaku-ji Temple. Its honzon (principal image of Buddha) is Taizan Fukun (Sekizan Daimyojin, one of the Japanese gods). Because the temple is located northeast of Kyoto Imperial Palace, which is the kimon direction (kimon-the northeastern (unlucky) direction, a person or thing to be avoided), since ancient times it has been worshipped as a god of hoyoke (protection for removing calamities related to direction). On the roof of the haiden (a hall of worship) is a model monkey laid out who has a gohei (a wooden ritual wand decorated with plaited paper streamers) and a bell opposite the monkey of Saru ga Tsuji (crossroad of monkeys) at the northeast corner of the palace.

In the Sennichi kaihogyo (1000-day circumambulation practice) of Mt. Hiei Enryaku-ji Temple, there is a severe practice called "Sekizan Kugyo (self-torment practice at Sekizan)," in which, for 100 of the 1000 days, the practitioner goes up and down the hills from Mt. Hiei to Kirarazaka Slope. This is to go up and down the hills and mountains every day on increasingly more difficult paths than normal roads for the disciplinant in Mt. Hiei, in order to serve flowers to Sekizan Daimyojin.

Today, Fukurokujuden (Hall of Fukurokuju, who is a tall headed god of happiness, wealth, and long life) in the precincts of the shrine is said to be one of the "Miyako Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Fortune in Kyoto)." There is also a picturesque spot for the viewing of colorful autumn foliage.

It was founded in 888. The name "Sekizan" is derived from the temple where the nyuto-priest (priest who went to China for study) Ennin stayed in China. Ennin wanted to build a Zen temple modeled after Ch'ih-shan Fa-hua-yuan (in Chinese, or Sekizanhokkein in Japanese), which was located in Shangdon Province of China; however, he died in vain. The temple Anne made a kanjo (ceremonial transfer of a divided tutelary deity to a new location) on Sekizan Daimyojin (Taizan Fukun) based on the will of Ennin, and built the Sekizanzenin.

18, Shugakuin Kaikonbo-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture


It is a 20-minute walk from Shugakuin Station of the Eizan honsen (Main line) of the Eizan Electric Railway. It's a 20-minute walk from Shugakuinrikyu-michi stop of Kyoto City Bus.

[Original Japanese]