Shinsho Gokuraku-ji Temple (真正極楽寺)

Shinsho Gokuraku-ji Temple, also known as Shinnyo-do Hall, is a Tendai Sect Buddhist temple located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. Its honorific mountain prefix is Mt. Reisho. The temple was founded by Kaisan and is devoted to the principal image statue of Amida Nyorai.


The temple originated in the year 984 when Kaisan, a monk from Mt. Hiei, enshrined the Amida Nyorai statue of Jogyo-do Hall on Mt. Hiei in the villa of FUJIWARA no Senshi (mother of Empeor Ichijo). The site became a seminary for fudan nenbutsu (constant invocation) and was patronized by nenbutsu devotees and common people alike, particularly women. However, the halls and pagodas were destroyed by the repeated fires of the Onin War. The temple was later relocated to numerous sites within Kyoto City by Ashikaga Shogunate family and Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI before being reconstructed on its current site in 1693.

It is the family temple of the Mitsui family.

Ojuya (an important Buddhist rite of the Pure Land Sect) originated here.

Main Buildings

Main hall
Three-storey pagoda
Gansan Daishi-do Hall
Kaisan-do Hall
Manrei-do Hall

National Treasures

Lotus Sutra: The six volumes two to seven (written by Unkei in 1183)
Some of the eight volumes of transcribed Lotus Sutras resulting that Buddhist sculptor Unkei vowed to have made (volume one has been lost, volume eight is in privately owned). The events that led to the transcription of this sutra are detailed in the postscript at the end of volume eight, which is kept elsewhere. According to this same postscript, Unkei vowed to have the Lotus Sutra transcribed between 1175 and 1177 (while in his 20s) and the task was begun several years later in 1183 after receiving the assistance of Akomaru. In addition to Kaikei, other Buddhist sculptors of his school are also connected with this sutra. The writer of the sutra is Chinga. It is known from the writing on the scroll roller that the centers of the scrolls are made from the wood that remained after Todai-ji Temple was destroyed by fire during a conflict in 1180, three years before the transcription was begun. These pieces are incredibly important as historical records connected to Unkei who is highly representative of Japan's Buddhist sculptors.

Important Cultural Properties

Main hall: Constructed in 1717.

Color painting on silk portrait of Fugen Bosatsu
Color painting on paper depiction of the origin of Shinnyo-do Hall. Wooden standing statue of Amida Nyorai: The temple's principal image. 108 centimeters in height. Created during the Heian period. It is commonly referred to as 'Unazuki no Amida' (lit. Nodding Amida).

A letter written by Jien Sojo

Other Major Cultural Properties

Dainehan-zu (painting of Great Nirvana), 6 meters long and 4 meters wide
Statue of the thousand-armed Kannon
Statue of Fudo Myoo
Nirvana Garden: A dry landscape garden incorporating the scenery of Higashiyama (Kyoto Prefecture) with Mt. Daimonji and Me. Hiei.

Location / Access

82 Jodoji Shinnyo-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City
Take the Kyoto City Bus to the Shinnyodo-mae bus stop or Kinrinshako-mae bus stop and walk for eight minutes.

[Original Japanese]