Myoki-an Temple (妙喜庵)

Myoki-an Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Oyamazaki-cho, Otokuni-gun, Kyoto Prefecture. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple, is Hokozan. The temple is also known as Hokozan Myoki-zenan. During the Edo period, it temporarily served as a sub-temple of Jizo-ji Temple but it now belongs to the Tofuku-ji School of the Rinzai Sect.

Myoki-an Temple was founded between 1492 and 1501 during the Muromachi period. The temple's founder was priest Shoitsukokushi Hassu Shungaku Shiho who also founded Tofuku-ji Temple.
It is known for its National Treasure-designated teahouse 'Tai-an.'
There is a legend that the residence (Fugetsu-an) of renga poet Sokan YAMAZAKI was converted to a simple temple after his death (c.1524) but the priest Shungaku passed away in 1510. Additionally, it is said that the ruins of Sokan's former residence (Sokan Well) lie in the Osaka Prefecture-side (Yamazaki, Shimamoto-cho) of the village of Oyamazaki. These facts make it difficult to conclude that Sokan YAMAZAKI's residence was the predecessor of Myoki-an Temple.

Tai-an Teahouse
National Treasure. As well as being the oldest teahouse in Japan, it is also the only remaining teahouse believed to have been created by SEN no Rikyu. It is said to be the prototype of the now commonplace small teahouses with nijiri-guchi (low entrances that make it necessary to bend down in order to enter) as well as the precursor of the sukiya architectural style. According to temple legend, the Tai-an Teahouse was originally a two-tatami mat sized fixed hearth teahouse built by SEN no Rikyu at the camp of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI during the Battle of Yamazaki in 1582 which was then disassembled and relocated to its current site. In the 1606 'Hoshaku-ji ezu' (painting of Hoshaku-ji Temple), the notation 'kakoi' (tea room) is written in the current location of Myoki-an Temple, so it is thought that the teahouse had already been relocated to its current site by this time. In the same painting, the presence of the words 'Sokan Yashiki' (Sokan's residence) and 'Rikyu' written to the west of Myoki-an Temple in what is now the vicinity of the ruins of Sokan YAMAZAKI's former residence at Shimamoto-cho imply that SEN no Rikyu also resided in this area. There is therefore also a theory that the Tai-an Teahouse was relocated from SEN no Rikyu's residence ('Taian - Wabi suki no sekai' by Masao NAKAMURA).

The interior walls are composed of black mud-plaster. There is also a 4-shaku (approximately 121.2 cm) 'Murodoko' alcove in which the floor, corners and ceiling are completely plastered. It is said to be the first structure to allow the outside light to enter freely with its three shitajimado (unpeeled ditch reed lattice windows) and a renjimado (bamboo grille window). The use of bamboo as well as the shitajimado windows and mud plaster gives the structure the feel of a contemporary private residence. The two-tatami mat tearoom leads onto a one-tatami after-room with an 8-sun (approximately 24 cm) wide wooden boarded edge. Since the Edo period numerous tea ceremony masters and researchers have submitted theories regarding the use of this room with a single shelf on its wall but its function is not yet clear.

Those wishing to view the Tai-an Teahouse are required to book about one month in advance. An actual size replica of the Tai-an Teahouse as it was at the time of its construction is on display at the nearby Oyamazaki-cho Rekishi Shiryokan (Oyamazaki-Cho Historical Archives).

Shoin (drawing room)

Nationally designated Important Cultural Property, shoin-zukuri style, 2-ken length longitudinal purlins, 3-ken length transverse beams, one-storey, kirizuma-zukuri style shingle roof. Thought to have been built between 1469 and 1487 during the Muromachi period as an imitation of the shoin at Myoshin-ji Temple's Reiun-in sub-temple and also said to be the former residence of Sokan YAMAZAKI - the founder of renga poetry. The stump of the 'Sodezuri-no-Matsu' (sleeve-brushing pine) (2nd generation) connected to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI remains in the front garden (on the eastern side of the Tai-an Teahouse). The Meigetsu-do Hall is also believed to be a former residence of Sokan YAMAZAKI but the current structure was constructed at the beginning of the Showa period. The previous Meigetsu-do Hall was purchased by a Kanto region dilettante during the Meiji period and its current location is unknown but it is not thought to date from the Muromachi period but rather from the latter part of the Momoyama period (Keicho era) ('Taian - Wabi suki no sekai' by Masao NAKAMURA).

56 Oyamazaki Koaza Ryuko, Oyamazaki-cho, Otokuni-gun, Kyoto Prefecture. 618-0071

In front of Yamazaki Station (Kyoto Prefecture) on the JR Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line)
3 minutes walk from Oyamazaki Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line

Nearby attractions
Ruins of the Battle of Yamazaki
Minase-jingu Shrine
Remains of Sakurai Station
Seki Daimyo-jinja Shrine
Oyamazaki Villa Museum
Oyamazaki-Cho Historical Archives
Dainen-ji Temple
Hoshaku-ji Temple
Yamazaki Shoten Temple
Sakatoke-jinja Shrine
Ruins of Oyamazaki tile kiln (nationally designated historic site)
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
List of National Treasures

[Original Japanese]