Saimyo-ji Temple (Kyoto City) (西明寺 (京都市))

Saimyo-ji Temple is a temple belonging to the Daikaku-ji school of the Shingon Sect located in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. The sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple, is Makinoosan and the principal image is Shaka Nyorai.

Along with Takaosan Jingo-ji Temple and Tsuganoosan Kozan-ji Temple it is one of the three famous "o" temples.

According to temple legend, Saimyo-ji Temple was founded between 824 and 834 by Chisen Daitoku, a leading disciple of Kukai (Kobo Daishi), as a branch temple of Jingo-ji Temple. The temple later fell into ruin but was revived by Priest Gaho Jisho of Makinoosan-ji Temple in Izumi Province between 1175 and 1178, during which time the main hall, sutra hall, treasure pagoda and guardian shrine were built.

It became independent from Jingo-ji Temple in 1290. The buildings were later destroyed by fire resulting from conflict but were rebuilt in 1602 by Myonin Risshi. The current main hall was rebuilt in 1700 using funds donated by Keishoin.


Main hall: Rebuilt in 1700 using funds donated by Keishoin, the mother of Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA. It measures 7 bays in length and 4 bays in width. The building houses a statue of Shaka Nyorai (Important Cultural Property) and other Buddha statues.

Kyakuden (guest hall): Stands to the left of the main hall. It predates the main hall, having been relocated to the site during the first part of the Edo period. It was originally the dining hall and was used as a living space and place of disciplinary training for the monks.

Front gate: A single bay Yakuimon gate constructed in 1700 at the same time as the main hall.

Cultural properties

Wooden standing statue of Shaka Nyorai (Important Cultural Properties): Housed within a miniature shrine that stands atop a dais at the front of the main hall. It is a Kamakura period Seiryo-ji style Amida Nyorai statue.

Wooden standing statue of a Thousand-armed Kannon (Important Cultural Properties): Housed in the side sanctuary of the main hall. It has 10 faces on the head and 42 arms. Crafted during the Heian period.

Statue of Aizen Myoo: Housed in the side sanctuary of the main hall. Crafted during the Kamakura period.


2 Makinoo-cho, Umegahata, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City 616-8291


5 minutes walk from the JR Bus 'Makinoo' bus stop.

[Original Japanese]