Enko-ji Temple (円光寺)
Enko-ji Temple is a Rinzai Sect Buddhist temple located in Ichijoji, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City.
The temple was founded by the kaizan (founding priest) Sanyo Genkitsu (Kanshitsu) and the kaiki (founding patron) Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and its honorific mountain prefix is 'Mt. Zuigan.'
The 'Jugyu no Niwa' (Garden of Ten Bulls) contains the Seiryuchi Pond and a Suikinkutsu, an underground water koto, that are both said to be the oldest in Rakuhoku (the northern part of Kyoto City). The temple is known for its colored autumn leaves, and the site is illuminated at night.
The temple's origins began in 1601 when Ieyasu TOKUGAWA invited Kanshitsu, 9th head of the Ashikaga Gakko (Japan's oldest academic institution), to establish the Enko-ji Temple School in Fushimi. The school was later moved to Shokoku-ji Temple before being relocated to its current location in 1667.
Enko-ji Temple School also allowed students other than monks to enroll, and published numerous books including 'The School Sayings of Confucius' and 'Essentials of the Zhenguan Period Government' (refer to 'Zhenguan'). These books are known as 'Fushimi-ban' or 'Enko-ji-ban', and the wooden printing blocks used at the time have been preserved. There are over 50,000 in total, and have all been designated as Important Cultural Properties as the oldest books in print in Japan.
Other cultural properties include the principal image statue of the Thousand-Armed Kannon, a statue of the founding priest, and folding screens with images of bamboo forests painted by Okyo MARUYAMA.
On the mountain within the temple precincts stands the Tosho-gu Shrine in which Ieyasu TOKUGAWA is enshrined.
Important Cultural Properties
Monochrome ink painting on paper pair of six-panel folding screens of Bamboo Groves painted by Okyo MARUYAMA
Color painting on silk self-inscribed portrait of High Priest Genkitsu with an epigraph on his own painting
52,320 Fushimi-ban printing wood-cut letters