Raigo-in Temple (Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City) (来迎院 (京都市東山区))
Raigo-in Temple (Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City) is a Buddhist temple of the Sennyu-ji school of the Shingon Sect. Its sango (literally, "mountain name", the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple) is Mt. Meio. Its principle image is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagatae).
This temple is a chuto (sub-temple founded to commemorate the death of a high priest) of Sennyu-ji Temple. This temple is called Kinri Gobodaisho Sennyu-ji Betto (the steward of Sennyu-ji Temple, the imperial family's temple) or Mitera Betto Raigo-in (Raigo-in, the steward of the honorable temple (i.e., Sennyu-ji Temple)).
According to a temple legend, Raigo-in Temple was built by Kukai (Kobo daishi, one of the best known and most beloved Buddhist saints in Japan, founder of the Shingon ("True Word") school of Buddhism) in 806 by enshrining the statue of Kojin (god of a cooking stove) he had happened to obtain in Tang (China). Hundreds of years later, FUJIWARA no Nobufusa, who entered the priesthood under the 4th head priest of Sennyu-ji Temple, Getsuo Ritsushi, built various halls at Raigo-in Temple, but they were destroyed by fire in the Bunmei Disturbance, leaving the temple abandoned.
Shunsuke Choro (a senior priest of the temple, credited for restoring it) received 50 koku (measure of volume) of rice from Nobunaga ODA in 1577, had its halls repaired by Toshiie MAEDA (one of the leading generals of Nobunaga ODA, who became the lord of Kaga Domain, the wealthiest domain in the Edo period) in 1597, and was also given 100 koku of rice and a shuinjo (shogunate license to trade) by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate), and after all these years, the temple was finally revived with a solid financial base.
The temple was worshipped by the imperial family as the place to pray for easy delivery, and became betto (steward) that administered the imperial family's temples.
In 1701, Yoshio OISHI (the chief retainer of Ako Domain and the head of Ako roshi (ex-Ako samurai, who left their domain to take revenge for their lord who had been forced to commit ritual suicide by disembowelment)) visited one of his maternal relatives, who was a senior priest of this temple, after leaving Ako, to have a Terauke shomon (certificate of a Buddhist temple) issued, and settled in Yamashina (a suburb of Kyoto). He became a danka (supporter) of Raigo-in Temple.
Yoshio OISHI, who loved the garden of Raigo-in Temple, which was designed with trees and fountains, built a shoin (drawing room) and a chaseki (tea ceremony room) called Gansuiken. According to a legend, he was so impressed with the temple's fine spring water, called 'Tokko water', which had been dug by Kobo Daishi using Tokko (a religious tool like a short stick), that he built Gansuiken. Yoshio OISHI is believed to have worshipped Shogun Jizo Bosatsu (Ksitigarbha of winning the battle) as his nenjibutsu (a small statue of Buddha kept beside the person), and to have communicated with his ex-Ako warriors in Kyoto or Osaka.
The statue of Sanpo Daikojin (literally, the great god of a cooking stove, or the god of three treasures) enshrined in Raigo-in is said to have been engraved by Kukai (Kobo daishi) (actually, the statue was made in the Kamakura period). This deity is also called 'Yuna Kojin,' who is Kofuku Tenno Shutakushin (home guardian) believed to give people the three treasures of 'i shoku ju' (food, clothing & shelter) as well as to ensure safe, easy childbirth. In addition, Shogun Jizo Bosatsu is also enshrined in the main hall of the temple.
On the pilgrim route of Kyoto Senzan Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Luck), Raigo-in is the 4th fudasho (temple that issues amulets) that worships 'Hoteison' (pot-bellied god of good fortune).
Important cultural properties
Wooden seated statue of Kojin
Five wooden standing statues of Gohojin (God guarding Buddhism)
Main hall, the Kojindo hall, the Chinju-sha shrine, Shoin (reception room), Gansuiken (tea ceremony room), Kyakuden (reception hall), Kuri (building where priests live), gateway
Gansui tei garden of the Chisen-kaiyushiki-teien style (a stroke-style garden around a big pond) and the Shinji-ike pond (pond in the shape of a Chinese character, "心" (heart))
Takko water and Goganseki stone (a stone on which prayers are carved) (near Tokko water, the statue of Shugyo-Daishi (a high monk pursuing knowledge) is placed)
33 Nyusenji Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City
Get off at the Tofukuji Station of Keihan Electric Railway. Get off at the Tofukuji Station of West Japan Railway. Get off at the Nyusenji-michi stop of Kyoto Municipal Bus.