Zuishin-in Temple (随心院)

Zuishin-in Temple (it is also pronounced Zuishin-nin Temple) is the Daihonzan (head temple) of the Zentsuji School of the Shingon Sect located in Ono, Yamashina Ward, Kyoto City. It was founded by Ningai who is known as the founder of the Ono-ha sub-school. The principal image is a statue of Nyoirin Kannon. The Ono area in which the temple is situated was the base of the Ono clan, and Zuishin-in Temple is known for its connection to ONO no Komachi.

Temple crest

Kujofuji (Japanese wisteria pattern)


Zuishin-in Temple was a sub-temple of Gyuhisan Mandara-ji Temple which was founded by Ningai (954-1046). Ningai (954-1046) was the founder of the Ono-ha sub-school of the Shingon Sect. He would often hold prayers for rain in the Shinsen-en Garden and at the time was believed to have brought rain - leading him to become known as 'Ame Sojo' (Rain Priest). Mandara-ji Temple was founded by Ningai in the year 991 after the land was granted to him by Emperor Ichijo. According to legend, Ningai saw in a dream that his mother had been reincarnated as an ox, which he then went on to take care of but it soon died. It is said that the grieving Ningai created a Ryokai Mandala (Mandala of the Two Realms) from the hide of the ox which was installed as the principal image and that this is the reason why the temple was named 'Gyuhisan Mandara-ji Temple' (Ox-hide Mandala Temple). A similar tale is told in "Kojidan" (Talks of the Past) but in this version it is not Ningai's mother who was reincarnated as an ox but his father.

Zuishin-in Temple was founded as a sub-temple of Gyuhisan Mandara-ji Temple in the time of the 5th head priest Zoshun. During the time of Kengon, the 6th head priest, the temple became the favored place of worship of Emperor Juntoku, Emperor Gohorikawa and Emperor Shijo. The temple became a Monzeki Temple (a temple served by chief priests descended from the imperial family or regent family) during the time of 7th head priest Shingon (1151-1236), who also served as the administrator of To-ji Temple and steward of Todai-ji Temple, as a result of a letter sent by Emperor Gohorikawa in 1229. Since this time, the temple has been served by chief priests from the Ichijo family, Nijo family and Kujo family.

Numerous buildings went on to be constructed within the grounds of the temple and it also held territory in Yamashiro, Harima and Kii provinces but these were almost completely destroyed by fire during the Onin War. According to "Zuishin-in Shiryaku" (The History of Zuishin-in Temple), the temple site was repeatedly relocated to locations including Karahashi in Kujo and the area near to Shokoku-ji Temple. In 1599, during the time in which Zoko (of the Kujo family) served as 24th head priest, the main hall was restored on the old site of Mandara-ji Temple.

Gyogen (1717-1787), who served as monzeki (priest prince) during the mid Edo period and was the son of Kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor) Sukezane KUJO, attained the rank of Daisojo (high priest) but returned to secular life in 1743 when Tanemoto KUJO died at a young age and served as Kanpaku and Daijo Daijin (Chancellor of the Realm) under the name Naozane KUJO.

Following the Meiji period, the various sub-schools of the Shingon Sect repeatedly became opposed to one another, formed new schools and merged. Even after the Omuro-ryu sub-school, Daigo-ryu sub-school, Daikakuji-ryu sub-school and others separated, Zuishin-in Temple remained part of the Shingon Sect but became independent and divided into the Yamashina School, Ono School, Toji School and Senyuji School in 1907. Zuishin-in Temple became the head temple of the Ono School. The Ono School of the Shingon Sect changed its name to the Zentsuji School in 1931. Zentsu-ji Temple rose to the status of Sohonzan (general head temple) in 1941. Zentsu-ji Temple, which now stands on the birthplace of sect founder Kukai, is the Sohonzan (general head temple) of the Zentsuji School, and Zuishin-in Temple is the Daihonzan (head temple) of the same school).


Main hall
As stated above, the main hall was constructed during the Momoyama period (1599) in the shinden-zukuri style.

Yakui-mon gate, entry hall and drawing room
Said to have been constructed between 1624 and 1631 using funds donated by Tenshinin-ni, who was connected to the Kujo family (the roots of Tenshinin-ni have not been determined). Contains sliding screen paintings including those depicting landscapes, flowers and birds, and those depicting tigers.

Noh-no-ma (Noh room)
Constructed between 1753 and 1764 using funds donated by the Kujo family. Underwent repairs in 1991.

Somon gate and kuri (monks' living quarters)
Relocated by the Nijo family in 1753 and the kuri previously served as the family's mandokoro (administrative office).

Ono bai-en garden

There are approximately 230 ume trees within the temple precinct. The red, white and pink blossoms come into bloom at the end of February and are viewed in mid-March. The most numerous pink flowers are named 'Hanezu-no-Ume' after the color 'hanezu' (pale pink).

Historic remains related to ONO no Komachi

The Ono clan once prospered in the Ono area in which the temple is situated. ONO no Komachi, known as a court servant of Emperor Ninmyo and a waka poet, is believed to originate from this area and also to have resided here after leaving the Imperial court.
At Zuishin-in Temple are several historic remains related to ONO no Komachi including a Stupa Komachi believed to depict Komachi in her final years, a fumizuka (burial mound of drafts for commemoration) and the Kesho-no-ido (make-up well),

Cultural properties

Important Cultural Properties
Wooden seated statue of Amida Nyorai (created during the latter part of the Heian period)
Wooden seated statue of Kongosatta (created by Kaikei during the Kamakura period)
Color painting on silk Aizen Mandala
Documents relating to Zuishin-in Temple
Color painting on gold-foil paper Ranteikyokusui-zu: Two pairs of eight-panel folding screens attributed to Kano Sansetsu

Historic site
Zuishin-in Temple grounds

Annual events


Zuiryu kodensho

Zuishin-in Temple graveyard (within the temple grounds)

[Original Japanese]