Hokongo-in Temple (法金剛院)

Hokongo-in Temple is a temple of Ritsu Sect located in Hanazono, Ukyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. Its honorific mountain prefix is Goisan. The temple was founded by FUJIWARA no Shoshi (or Tamako) and its principal image is a statue of Amitabha. Hokongo-in Temple is known for its many ancient Buddhist statues and Jodo (Pure Land) sect style garden in the Heian period. It is also famous for its flowers, particularly as a place for viewing lotus flowers.

Hokongo-in Temple is located at the east foot of Narabigaoka Hill, an area long known as a place of scenic beauty. This area has numerous historic spots and famous temples including Myoshin-ji Temple and Ninna-ji Temple.

This temple site was formerly the mountain villa of KIYOHARA no Natsuno (782 - 837), a nobleman in the early Heian period, and was converted into a temple after his death, which was to be the predecessor of Hokongo-in Temple. About twenty years later, in 858, the temple hall was constructed by Emperor Buntoku's order and the complex was named Tenan-ji Temple. Following this, the temple went into decline but was revived three centuries later in 1130 at the end of the Heian period by Taikenmonin (1101 - 1145).

Taikenmonin was from the Fujiwara clan and was the Empress of Emperor Toba, as well as the mother of Emperor Sutoku and Emperor Goshirakawa. At the height of the Hokongo-in Temple's prosperity, it included buildings such as the Kutai-Amida-do (temple of nine states Amitabha), Joroku Amida-do (temple of statue of about five-meter-high Amitabha) and Taikenmonin's palace, but repeated disasters have left it with no trace of its former glory. The remains of the late Heian period Jodo (Pure Land) sect style garden were excavated and restored in 1968. The extant large statue of Amitabha measures over 2.2 meters in height and is assumed to be the principal image of Joroku Amida-do.

All buildings including the main hall were rebuilt in 1617, during the early Edo period.

Cultural Properties

Important Cultural Properties

Wooden sedentary statue of Amitabha: A statue of Amitabha created in the Jocho style (an elegant Japanese sculpturing style established by Jocho) in the latter half of Heian period. The large 2.2 meters' statue is assumed to be the work of the Buddhist sculptor Inkaku.

Wooden sedentary statue of the Eleven-faced Kannon housed within a miniature shrine: Created in 1319 by the Buddhist sculptor Inkichi and others. The sedentary statue of eleven-faced Kannon with four arms is rare.

Wooden standing statue of Ksitigarbha: Created during the latter half of the Heian period
Wooden sedentary statue of Manjusri in the form of a Buddhist monk: Created during the latter half of the Heian period
Incense burner with Lotus flower style: An incense burner of old Kiyomizu ware in the shape of a lotus flower. Deposited at Kyoto National Museum.

Place of Special Scenic Beauty

Aome-taki (waterfall) (with Mt. Goi-yama): A remnant of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect style garden in the late Heian period.


Wooden sedentary statue of Ksitigarbha: Created during the latter half of the Heian period
This statue stands at approximately 485cm in height and is known as Kaname Jizo (Golden-eye Ksitigarbha) due to the use of gold leaf on the eyes. It is also known as Kanae Jizo by extension. It is not ordinarily on public display.

[Original Japanese]