Ryogen-in Temple (龍源院)

Ryogen-in Temple is a sub-temple within the precinct of Rinzai sect Daihonzan (Head Temple) Daitoku-ji Temple located in Murasakino, Kita Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is the main temple of the Southern lineage of Daitoku-ji Temple whereas Daisen-in Temple is the main temple of the Northern lineage of Daitoku-ji Temple.


Ryogen-in Temple was founded in 1502 by Yoshimoto HATAKEYAMA of Noto Province and Yoshinaga OTOMO of Bungo Province who named Tokei Soboku as founding priest. Due to the separation of Buddhism and Shinto during the early Meiji period, the temple merged with Jion-ji Temple in the grounds of Sumiyoshi-jinja Shrine in Osaka and Konryu-in Temple constructed in the precinct of Daitoku-ji Temple by Nagachika KANAMORI, lord of Takayama-jo Castle in Gifu.

Origin of the temple's name

The temple's name is formed from the 'ryu' character of 'Ryohozan,' the sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple, of Daitoku-ji Temple, and the 'gen' character of Shogen Ichimyaku who was the pure successor of Zen deriving from Songyuan Chongyue ('Shogen Sugaku' in Japanese), the founder of the Shogen lineage of the Rinzai Sect in China.


Main Hall (Abbot's Quarters, Important Cultural Property)
A single storey building topped by a cypress bark hip-and-gable roof constructed in 1517 during the Muromachi period. It is one of the oldest examples of hojo architecture in Japan. Both the date and artist of the paintings of dragons on the sliding panels in the inner room are unknown but they are reputed to date from between the Momoyama and Edo periods.

Entrance Hall (Important Cultural Property)
A cypress bark hip-and-gable roof-topped entrance hall leading into the main hall (abbot's quarters) and dating from the same time as the main hall.

Front Gate (Important Cultural Property)
A cypress bark gable roof four-legged gate that was constructed at the same time as the abbot's quarters and karamon gate.

Kaiso-do Hall
This cypress bark hip-and-gable roof building that serves as the burial place of founder Tokei Zenshi is a representative example of a Showa period structure incorporating the Chinese Tang Dynasty style of the Northern and Southern Courts, Kamakura and early Muromachi periods.


Totekiko Garden
A wonderful modern courtyard garden created between the abbot's quarters and kuri (food preparation building) that features five stones placed on white sand in a 3/2 arrangement.

Isshidan Garden
This original garden was named after the room name 'Ryozen Isshino ken' granted by Jitsuden Osho, a disciple of Tokei Zenshi, and features an impressive stone tortoise-island in a circular moss arrangement.

Ryogintei Garden
A Muromachi style dry landscape garden on the northern side of the abbot's quarters featuring a Buddhist triad stone arrangement in which the central stone symbolizes Mount Meru and the bright green hair-moss represents the ocean.

Kodatei Garden
A white sand garden named after China's Hutuo ('Koda' in Japanese) River that flows to the south of Zhenzhou Castle in which Rinzai Sect founder Linji resided featuring two stones named "Aun-no-Ishi" that are said to be the remains of Jurakudai.

Cultural properties

Important Cultural Properties
Main Hall (including entrance hall)
Front Gate
Wooden seated statue of Shaka Nyorai
A Kamakura period statue crafted in 1250 that predates the founding of Ryogen-in Temple and carries the inscription "created by Gyoshin." It is considered to be one of the Eight Great Shaka Statues of Kyoto.

Other cultural properties
Paintings of monkeys
A pair of hanging scroll paintings attributed to Tohaku HASEGAWA.

Painting of Bodhidharma
A painting of Bodhidharma, the founder of Chinese Zen Buddhism, painted by Tanyu KANO who was a painter in the service of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Tanegashima arquebus
Said to be the oldest Tanegashima arquebus in Japan due to the inscription dating it at 1583.

Shiho makie go (a strategic board game for two players) board
Said to have been used by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.


Take the Kyoto City Bus from JR Kyoto Station to "Daitoku-ji mae" bus stop (approximately 30 minutes) and walk.

[Original Japanese]