Manju-ji Temple (万寿寺)

Manju-ji Temple is a sub-temple located within the precinct of Tofuku-ji Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. It was once one of the Kyoto Gozan (five great Zen temples of Kyoto) along with Tenryu-ji Temple, Shokoku-ji Temple, Kennin-ji Temple and Tofuku-ji Temple. It cannot be visited as it is not open to the general public.


The origins of Manju-ji Temple date back to the Rokujo Mido (Buddhist statue hall) constructed at Rokujo Dairi (imperial palace) by the Emperor Shirakawa in the latter part of the Heian period. According to sources including "Keijo Manjuzenji-ki," the Rokujo Mido was built by the grieving Emperor Shirakawa in order to pray for the soul of his wife Yuhomonin (Imperial Princess Teiko) who died in 1096 aged 21. It is also said that her death led to the emperor retiring to the Buddhist priesthood. Tanku (1176-1253), a disciple of Honen, resided at this mido during the Kamakura period before he passed it on to Jichi Kakuku. It is known to have been a Tendai Pure Land Sect temple at this time. Between 1257 and 1259, Jichi Kakuku and his disciple Tozan Tansho became devoted to Enni of Tofuku-ji Temple, and the temple converted to the Rinzai Sect with the name being changed to Manju-ji Temple. The opening ceremony was held in 1261. The temple was later damaged by fire in 1273 but granted land by Sumeimonin, the wife of the Emperor Gouda, in 1330 and was relocated slightly north of the former Rokujo site to a location west of Takakura-dori Street and south of Higuchikoji (present-day Manjuji-dori Street). The names of the nearby towns of Manjuji-cho and Manjuji Nakanocho in Simogyo Ward remain from this time.

During the Kamakura period, Manju-ji Temple was ranked as the 4th of the 10 temples and later promoted to one of the Gozan (five temples) as well as the 5th of the Kyoto Gozan but fell into decline following a fire that broke out in 1434. The temple was relocated to a site adjacent to Sansho-ji Temple to the north of Tofuku-ji Temple, the 4th of the Gozan, between 1573 and 1592. This relocation was due to the fact that the founding priest of Sansho-ji Temple was Jichi Kakuku and Tozan Tansho of Manju-ji Temple.

During the Kamakura period, Sansho-ji Temple was a highly influential temple with a complex of Zen style buildings but it gradually fell into decline and merged with Manju-ji Temple in 1873. In 1886, Manju-ji Temple became and remains a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji Temple. According to "Tofuku-ji shi," the Shaka triad statues of Manju-ji Temple were moved to Tofuku-ji Temple and installed as principal images after the butsuden (Buddha statue hall) of Tofuku-ji Temple was destroyed by fire in 1881. These Shaka triad statues that are currently housed within the Tofuku-ji Temple main hall were originally installed at Sansho-ji Temple. In addition, the Aizen-do hall and Nio-mon gate within the Tofuku-ji Temple precinct, and the belfry at the entrance of Manju-ji Temple (all Important Cultural Properties) all originally belonged to Sansho-ji Temple. With the opening of the Kyoto municipal streetcar, Higashioji-dori Street and Kujo-dori Street in 1935, the temple precinct was divided and Manpuku-ji Temple became a detached part of the Tofuku-ji Precinct.


Kyakuden (guest hall) (cultural property designated by Kyoto Prefecture)
Belfry (Important Cultural Property): Constructed during the Muromachi period. Stands at the entrance to the precinct. The bell hands in the upper level and the lower level serves as a gate. The building originally belonged to Sansho-ji Temple but now belongs to Tofuku-ji Temple and is designated an Important Cultural Property as 'Tofukuji Shoro' (Tofuku-ji Temple belfry).

Cultural properties

Important Cultural Properties
Color painting on silk portrait of Enni (with self-inscription) (deposited at Kyoto National Museum)
Color panting on silk of Shaka hasso nehan-zu (painting of Shaka's eight-phase Nirvana)
Monochrome ink light color painting on silk of Shaka triad (deposited at Kyoto National Museum)
Wooden seated statue of Amida Nyorai: Crafted during the latter part of the Heian period. It is a large statue at 281.8 cm tall. The statue had long been deposited at Kyoto National Museum since the Meiji period but it is now housed within the Komyo hoden (treasure hall) (not open to the public) at Tofuku-ji Temple.

2 wooden standing statues of Kongorikishi: Formerly of Sansho-ji Temple. Housed within the Komyo hoden (treasure hall) (not open to the public) at Tofuku-ji Temple.


Walk from 'Tofukuji Station' on the Keihan Railway main line and JR Nara line.

[Original Japanese]