Jiko-in Temple (慈光院)

Jiko-in Temple is a temple of the Daitoku-ji school of the Rinzai sect located in Koizumi-cho, Yamatokoriyama City, Nara Prefecture. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the prefixed title given to a Buddhist temple) is Entsu-zan. Its honzon (the principle image of Buddha) is Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni). It was built by Sadamasa KATAGIRI of Koizumi Domain who was the founder of tea ceremony of the Sekishu school.


In 1663, Sadamasa Iwaminokami KATAGIRI (Sekishu), the founder of tea ceremony of the Sekishu school, erected this temple as an ancestral temple of his father, Sadataka KATAGIRI, and had Priest Gyokushu (大徹明應禅師), the 185th head of Daitoku-ji Temple, as the head priest.
The name Jiko-in was taken from his father, Sadataka's homyo (a Buddhist name given to a person who has died or has entered the priesthood), '慈光院殿雪庭宗立居士.'

Buildings and structures

Shoin (reception room) (an important cultural property)

It is one of the main buildings of Jiko-in Temple with the exterior appearance of a farm house. It has a type of roof called Irimoya Zukuri Kayabuki Yane (the thatched roof of the Irimoya style) surrounded by eaves made with pantiles, an 13-tatami-mat upper room, a middle room, and a lower room. Although the floor and tsuke-shoin (a built-in table) are prepared in the upper room, it does not have a nageshi (a horizontal piece of timber) and presents a simple and light image. Also, the ceiling and kamoi (a generic term for a head jamb, which normally has tracks for sliding doors or partitions) are set low on average out of adequate consideration so that one can feel relaxed or calm when sitting down in this room. It is famous for the beautiful scenery of the Nara Basin. In the north there is a small tea room of 3 tatami mats made in the Gyakugatte style (in which a guest sits at the left of a host in a tea ceremony).

Tea room (Korinan) (an important cultural property)

It is a tea room of 2.75 tatami mat size, which was the kind favored by Sekishu KATAGIRI. It is structured after the Teishu-doko (a host's alcove) style in which the front of an alcove is set as the seat for a host in a tea-ceremony room.

Ibaraki-mon Gate

It was originally the romon (two-storied gate) of Ibaraki-jo Castle where Sekishu KATAGIRI was born and was received by him when the castle was taken down due to Ikkoku Ichijo Rei (Law of One Castle per Province) ordered by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. Then, in order to match its roof with that of Shoin, it was re-roofed with thatch and finally became the sanmon gate (a temple gate) of Jiko-in Temple.

Garden (places of scenic beauty and historic sites)

There are beautifully trimmed large shrubberies made of azalea or other shrubs and beyond that the Nara Basin spreads out.

Important cultural properties

Shoin attachments: 3 chozubachies (a basin for water to purify before entering shrine) (Dokuza no Chozubachi [a chozubachi which sits alone], Kakubarazu no Chozubachi [a chozubachi without corners], and Menoji no Chozubachi [a chozubachi shaped like the kanji for girl])
Tea room attachments: 1 tsukubai (a stone washbasin)


Statue of Sekishu KATAGIRI
It is a statue of Sekishu made by Sekishu himself when he was 34, which was originally placed in 'Korin-an,' a hermitage Sekishu had built for himself in the Daitoku-ji Temple. After Korin-an was abandoned due to Haibutsu-kishaku (a movement to abolish Buddhism), it was transferred to Jiko-in Temple.


Visit hours: 9AM to 5PM (open 7 days a week)
Entrance fee: 1000 yen


Access by train
JR Yamatoji line to Yamato Koizumi Station =>15 minute walk
Kinki Nippon Railway Kintetsu Kashihara line to Kintetsu Koriyama Station => Get off at Nara Kotsu 'Jiko-in'
Access by car
Nishi Meihan Jidosha-do Horyu-ji interchange => Nara Kendo 5 Yamato Takada Karuga-sen => Koku-do (Route) 25 => Nara Kendo 9
Free parking available for visitors

[Original Japanese]