Jakko-in Temple (寂光院)

Jakko-in Temple is a Tendai Sect Buddhist temple located in Ohara, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City.
Its honorific mountain prefix is 'Seikozan.'
The temple's title is 'Gyokusen-ji Temple.'
It was founded by Prince Shotoku and is devoted to the principal image Ksitigarbha. The temple is well known as the place where TAIRA no Kiyomori's daughter Kenrei Mon-in lived in seclusion after the defeat of the Taira family and is closely connected to "The Tale of the Heike."

Origin and History
The origin of Jakko-in Temple is not known for sure. According to temple legend, it was established in the year 594 by Prince Shotoku to pray for the soul of his late father, Emperor Yomei and the first abbess is said to have been the prince's wet nurse, Tamateru-hime (Ezen-ni). However, there is also the Edo period theory published in "To Meisho Zue" that names Kukai as founder and an alternative theory published in "Kyohabutae" that it was founded by Yuzu-Nenbutsu founder, Ryonin who secluded himself in Ohara and completed Ohara shomyo (Buddhist hymns) in the end of the 11th century. The philosopher Takeshi UMEHARA claimed that it is possible that the temple was founded by Prince Shotoku as Ohara was the territory of ONO no Imoko. Today the temple is better known as the place in which Kenrei Mon-in lived in seclusion as described in "The Tale of the Heike."

Kenrei Mon-in Tokuko (1155-1213) was the daughter of TAIRA no Kiyomori, empress of Emperor Takakura and the mother of Emperor Antoku. After surviving the destruction of the entire Taira family at Dan-no-Ura in 1185, she entered the nunnery at Jakko-in Temple with her lady-in-waiting, Awa no naiji where she spent the remainder of her life. The village of Ohara in which Jakko-in Temple and Sanzen-in Temple are located was a place Nembutsu was practiced and aristocrats secluded themselves. Emperor Go-Shirakawa's 1186 visit to Kenrei Mon-in, who was praying for the souls of members of the Taira family and Emperors Takakura and Antoku at Jakko-in Temple, is recorded in the 'Ohara Goko' paragraph of "The Tale of the Heike," which has been fondly read for the story's theme that symbolizes the transience of worldly things.

Temple Grounds
The main hall was rebuilt by Katsumoto KATAGIRI during the Keicho era (1596-1615) under the order of Yodo-dono (Yodogimi), but was destroyed by arson on May 9, 2000. At this time the principal image standing statue of Ksitigarbha (Important Cultural Property) was also burnt along with the papier-mâshé statues of Kenrei Mon-in and Awa no naiji (created from the letters and sutra transcriptions written by Kanrei Mon-in). The current main hall was rebuilt in June 2005. It houses replicas of the principal image and statues of Kenrei Mon-in and Awa no naiji that were newly produced at the same time.

The Treasure Hall named 'Hochisho-den' was opened in October 2006. The tomb of Kenrei Mon-in was originally located within the temple grounds but fell under the control of the Department of the Imperial Household (the present Imperial Household Agency) and was separated from the precinct.

Cultural Properties
Standing statue of Ksitigarbha (Important Cultural Property): The temple's former principal image. It was created in 1229 and large at 256cm tall. The statue contained over 3,000 smaller Ksitigarbha statues as well as many other items.
The statue was burnt in the fire that broke out at the main hall in 2000 (prescription period until May 9, 2007), but the items inside the statue were unaffected and continue to be designated Important Cultural Properties under the name 'Wooden Standing Statue of Ksitigarbha (damaged by a fire).'
They are now housed within the repository located on higher ground than the main hall and only displayed on certain days.

The new principal image statue was created at the Nihon Bijutsuin (the Japan Art Institute) National Treasure Repair Center over a period of 3.5 years and completed in 2005. It is assembled from pieces of Japanese cypress wood and true to how the former principal image would have looked at the time of its completion. The statues of Kenrei Mon-in and Awa no naiji were originally made of papier-mâshé but the replicas were created in wood.

[Original Japanese]