Kankiko-ji Temple (歓喜光寺)

Kankiko-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Ji Sect located in Yamashina-ku Ward, Kyoto City. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple) is Shitaizan (Mt. Shitai). The ingo (name of temple's title) is Kawarain Temple. The principal image is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata). Shokai founded and served as first chief priest.

Kankiko-ji Temple's founding priest Shokai was a leading disciple of the sect founder Ippen who accompanied him on his pilgrimage throughout various provinces and is also said to have been Ippen's biological younger brother. According to sources such as "Mia Shonin Gyojo"(Documents about Mia Shonin ('Mia Shonin' being Shokai)), Kankiko-ji Temple was founded under the name Zendo-ji Temple at Yawata, Tsuzuki-gun County (present-day Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture) in 1291. This temple site close to Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine was selected due to the belief that Amida Nyorai is the Buddhist form of the Shinto deity Hachiman. Ippen was a devout believer in Hachiman and it is recorded in "Ippen Shonin Eden" (Pictorial biography of the monk Ippen) that he visited Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine in 1286. Several years later in 1299, the temple was relocated to the site of Minister of the Left MINAMOTO no Toru's residence (Rokujo Kawarain) in Rokujo Higashinotoin (present-day Shimogyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City) due to the patronage of Kanpaku (chief advisor to the emperor) Tadanori KUJO, and merged with the Tenman-gu Shrine and Kanki-ji Temple of the jingu-ji Temple (temples associated with shrines) at the former residence (in present-day Horimatsu-cho, Kamigyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City) of SUGAWARA no Koreyoshi (the father of SUGAWARA no Michizane). It was during this time that the name of the temple was changed to Kankiko-ji Temple and also became known as 'Rokujo Sanctuary' after the area in which it was located.

After the Onin War, the temple was moved to Takatsuji Karasuma (present-day Shimogyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City) before being relocated again between 1573 and 1592 by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI to Shijo Kyogoku where it stood throughout the early modern period. This area is now Nakano-cho, Nakagyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City (Shijo agaru, Shin Kyogoku-dori Street) but only the Tenman-gu Shrine that stood within the precinct remains in downtown Kyoto with the name Nishiki Tenman-gu Shrine.

In 1907, the temple later merged with Hokoku-ji Temple that stood in Higashiyama, and was relocated to the nearby Yugyomae-cho, Higashiyama-ku Ward (Higashi-Oji agaru, Gojo-dori Street). This is the area near to the Higashiyama Gojo intersection where the Otani Honbyo (Otani Mausoleum) is located. Hokoku-ji Temple was constructed by the Emperor Goyozei's mother Haruko KAJUJI as a memorial to his father Haremigi KAJUJI and its name was originally written using a different character for the word "ho" (豊) but given its current name after the death of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI (豊臣) so as not to give the Tokugawa family a bad impression. In 1975, the temple was relocated once again, this time to the suburban Yamashina-ku Ward, when the plans were made to build a car park on the Higashiyama-ku Ward site.

The National Treasure designated 12 picture scroll "Ippen Shonin E-den" was originally kept at Kankiko-ji Temple but has been in the possession of Shojoko-ji Temple (Ji Sect head temple in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture) since the late 20th century.

10 Oyake Okuyamada, Yamashina-ku Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

[Original Japanese]