Taizo-in Temple (退蔵院)

Taizo-in Temple is a sub-temple located within the precinct of Rinzai sect Daihonzan (head temple) Myoshin-ji Temple in Hanazono, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. It is known for its possession of the Hyonen-zu (lit. catching catfish with a gourd) painting - a prime example of early India-ink paintings.


Taizo-in Temple was founded in Matsubara, Senbon-dori Street in 1404 by Shigemichi HATANO of a powerful regional clan of Echizen who named Muin Soin, the 3rd chief priest of Myoshin-ji Temple as kaisan (founding priest), and was later relocated to the Myoshin-ji Temple precinct by Nippo Soshun. The temple went into decline for a period of time but was revived by Kinen Zenyu who had the deep devotion of Emperor Gonara.


Hojo (Abbot's chamber) (Important Cultural Property)
The sliding door panel paintings of the inner area are the work of Ryokei KANO, a high ranking disciple of Mitsunobu KANO, and believed to date from the latter part of the Momoyama period. The inner area is not ordinarily open to the public.

Large entrance hall (Important Cultural Property)


Motonobu-no-Niwa Garden
An elegant dry landscape garden that is thought to have been created by Motonobu KANO and featuring a beautifully arranged dry waterfall, kamejima (tortoise-shaped stone island) horaisan (inaccessible island) and numerous garden stones.

Yoko-en Garden
A representative Showa period garden created over a period of three years from 1963 by landscape gardener Kinsaku NAKANE and featuring an area separated by a large clipped hedge from which a three-stage waterfall drops, which creates the appearance of a large waterfall deep within the mountains.

Suikinkutsu (an upside down buried pot into which water drips through the hole at the top onto a small pool of water inside of the pot, creating a pleasant splashing sound)

Cultural properties

National Treasures
Monochrome ink painting on paper Hyonen-zu (A Man Catching Catfish with a Gourd)
Painted by Muromachi period pioneering India-ink painter Josetsu. It is one of the few pieces that can be confirmed as being the work of Josetsu and is a prime example of early Japanese India-ink paintings. It is known from the foreword at the top of the painting that it was commissioned by Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA - 4th Shogun of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). This graphical representation of a Zen koan (a story, dialogue, question, or statement that generally contains aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet may be accessible to intuition) depicts the almost impossible question of how to catch slippery catfish with a smooth gourd. At present, the lower half contains the image and the upper half includes the inscriptions of 30 Zen priests following the foreword but the image and inscriptions were originally stuck to the front and back of a small standing screen.
(The original is deposited at Kyoto National Museum and that on display at the temple is a reproduction.)

Important Cultural Properties
Main hall (hojo) including entrance hall
Letter written by Emperor Hanazono
Letter written by Emperor Gonara granting a priest a Buddhist name
Letter written by Emperor Gonara

Address and Access

35 Myoshinji-cho, Hanazono, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City
Walk from 'Hanazono Station' (Kyoto Prefecture) on the JR Sagano Line. Take the Kyoto City Bus from JR Kyoto Station to 'Myoshin-ji Temple Kitamon-mae' bus stop (approximately 40 minutes) and walk. Walk from 'Myoshin-ji Station' on the Keifuku Electric Railroad Kitano Line.

[Original Japanese]