Ryoko-in Temple (龍光院 (京都市))

Ryoko-in Temple is a sub-temple located within the precinct of Rinzai sect Daihonzan (Head Temple) Daitoku-ji Temple in Murasakino, Kita Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The temple maintains a policy of not opening to sightseers and there are no special openings.


Ryoko-in Temple was constructed by Nagamasa KURODA, lord of the Chikuzen Fukuoka Domain, to pray for the soul of his father Yoshitaka KURODA. As Shunoku Soen had passed away, the actual kaisan (first chief priest) Kogetsu Sogan was a close friend of Enshu KOBORI, and the Koho-an Temple founded by Enshu stood within Ryoko-in Temple. Ryoko-in Temple once occupied a site three times that of the current site but became devastated as a result of the execution of the edict for the separation of Buddhism and Shinto in the Meiji period and reduced to the present scale.


Shoin (Study Hall) (National Treasure)
A yosemune-zukuri (square or rectangular building covered with a hipped roof) building with a shingled roof built during the latter part of the Edo period (mid 17th century). The 'Mittanseki' tearoom the size of four tatami mats plus one of less than normal size located in the northwestern corner is highly representative example of the shoin style of tearoom and originally stood as a separate building. To the western edge of the Mittanseki tearoom is an engawa veranda separated by a translucent sliding screen, to the south is a ten tatami mat sized room separated by an opaque sliding screen, to the northeast is the host's tea preparation area, and on the west of the northern wall is an alcove. In addition to this alcove, a narrow alcove is found on the southern edge of the host's tea preparation area. This alcove was created especially in which to hang the National Treasure-designated 'Mitsuan Calligraphy' hanging scroll.

Main Hall (Important Cultural Property)
Stands to the west of the shoin. Constructed in 1649. A yosemune-zukuri (square or rectangular building covered with a hipped roof) building with a Japanese cypress covered roof.

Bankaro Corridor (Important Cultural Property)
Constructed in 1649 - the same year as the main hall. A corridor located to the south between the main hall and shoin.

Kabuto-mon Gate (Important Cultural Property)
Ryoko-in Temple's front gate with a Japanese cypress bark covered roof and undulating bargeboards on each gable end.

National Treasures

Shoin (Study Hall)
Mittan Kanketsu Bokuseki (Designation Includes a Letter Written by SEN no Rikyu)
Believed to be the only surviving work of calligraphy by Chinese Song Dynasty Zen monk Mi'an Xianjie ('Mittan Kanketsu' in Japanese) ('bokuseki' refers to the handwriting of a high-ranking Zen priest). This Buddhist sermon was greatly respected at Zenrin (a Zen temple) and also by numerous tea ceremony masters including SEN no Rikyu, and the Mittan-doko (Mittan alcove) was created within the Mittanseki tearoom of the shoin at Ryoko-in Temple especially in which to hang this scroll. The accompanying letter by Rikyu included within the designation arrived at the temple along with the bokuseki.

Jikusen Bonsen Bokuseki
Calligraphy by Chinese Yuan Dynasty Zen monk Zhuxian Fanxian ('Jikusen Bonsen' in Japanese) who worked for around 20 years to promote the Japan Zenrin temple and the later Gozan literature (Chinese poetry composed by Zen monks of the five great Zen temples of Kyoto from end of the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period). Of the surviving calligraphy works by Jikusen Bonsen, this piece can be said to be highly representative of his bold style with both large characters and width.

Diamond Sutra Written by Daikaku Zenji
Yohen Tenmoku tea bowl
Dating from the Chinese Southern Song Dynasty. Made in Jianyao, Fujian Province. Yohen Tenmoku refers to articles on which large and small spots appear on the black glaze on the surface to create a rainbow-like sparkle. Yohen Tenmoku items are extremely rare and only handed down from generation to generation in Japan, with only three or four being passed down including this bowl.

Important Cultural Properties

Main hall and Bankaro corridor
Kabuto-mon Gate
Light-colored painting on silk of landscape attributed to Baen
Color painting on silk of portrait of the sixteen Arhats
2 monochrome ink paintings on paper of chestnut and persimmon trees attributed to Mokkei
Light-colored painting on paper of a Chinese zither and chess game
Yuteki Tenmoku tea bowl
Letter written by the Emperor Gosai
Calligraphy by Nanbo Shomyo; Buddhist sermon (Tokuji Nishi Kishu)
Calligraphy by Shuho Myocho; Buddhist sermon (Yoketsuryo Shisho Unnun)
Dachuan Puji gorokushu written by Shuho Myocho

Grave of the Arisugawa-no-Miya Family
Until the Meiji Restoration, Ryoko-in Temple served as an ancestral temple of the Takamatsu-no-Miya and Arisugawa-no-Miya families and has the graves of successive family heads from the first generation Imperial Prince Yoshihito Takamatsu-no-Miya to the eighth generation Imperial Prince Tsunahito Arisugawa-no-Miya. However, the second generation Imperial Prince Yoshihito ascended to the throne to become the Emperor Gosai and is therefore buried at Senyu-ji Temple as opposed to Ryoko-in Temple.


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

[Original Japanese]