Sokujo-in Temple (即成院)

Sokujo-in Temple is a Shingon Sect Buddhist temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is a sub-temple within the grounds of Sennyu-ji Temple - the head temple of the Sennyuji School of the Shingon Sect. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple, is Komyozan. The temple is known for the 'Niju-go Bosatsu Neri Kuyo' (a procession of 25 children who parade around the temple dressed as bodhisattvas) festival held in October every year, and the grounds contain the grave of NASU no Yoichi. It is commonly referred to a Yoichi-san.

History

Sokujo-in Temple has stood within the grounds of Sennyu-ji Temple since the Meiji period but was originally located in Momoyama in Fushimi (Momoyama, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City). Early modern gazetteers claim that it was founded as Komyo-in Temple in the year 992 by Eshin Soto Genshin (a monk) but this is merely legend and the actual founder is believed to be TACHIBANA no Toshitsuna; known as the son of FUJIWARA no Yorimichi, a poet, and man of culture. According to the description of the temple's origin, it was founded as private Buddha hall in 1087 constructed at the mountain villa of TACHIBANA no Toshitsuna in Fushimi and was named Fushimi-ji Temple or Sokujoju-in Temple. The surviving statue of Amida Nyorai and 25 statues of bodhisattvas (nationally designated Important Cultural Properties) are estimated to have been created around the time of Toshitsuna's death in 1094.

In 1594, the Sokujo-in Temple in Fushimi was forcibly relocated to Okamedani (Fukakusa Okamedani, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City) in order to make way for the construction of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's Fushimi-jo Castle.

The temple was temporarily closed in 1872 due to the anti-Buddhist movement of the beginning of the Meiji period and the Buddha statues were transferred to Sennyu-ji Temple. A temporary hall was finally constructed near to the Daimon gate of Sennyu-ji Temple in 1887 and Sokujo-in Temple was revived before merging with the Sennyu-ji Temple sub-temple of Hoan-ji Temple in 1899 and being relocated from the front of the Daimon gate to its current location in the vicinity of the Somon gate in 1902. In 1911, the statues of Amida Nyorai and the 25 bodhisattvas were designated Important Cultural Properties (National Treasures at the time) under the ownership of Hoan-ji Temple. The name 'Sokujo-in Temple' was revived in 1941.

Cultural properties

Important Cultural Properties
Wooden statue of Amida Nyorai and 25 wooden statues of bodhisattvas: A total of 26 statues with the 25 bodhisattvas centered around Amida Nyorai and all housed within the main hall on 4-tiered Buddha platforms. To the left and right of Amida Nyorai is a Kannon bodhisattva statue holding up lotus-shaped pedestals on which the dead are placed to a Seiji bodhisattva statue with its hands together in prayer, with most of the remaining 23 bodhisattvas depicted playing musical instruments. Amida Nyorai and the 25 bodhisattvas are shown as if guiding a soul to the Western Pure Land Paradise; a scene which is often depicted in painting but is rarely represented using life sized three-dimensional statues. Of the 26 statues, only 11 including Amida Nyorai were crafted during the Heian period, with the remaining 15 being added during the Edo period but created in a manner that is true to the Heian period style.

Annual festival

Niju-go Bosatsu Neri Kuyo (a procession of 25 children who parade around the temple dressed as bodhisattvas): Third Sunday in October