Anrakuji Temple is a temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism. In the Kamakura period (1185-1333) Two of Honen’s disciples, Juren and Anraku, built a hermitage as a place to practice Nembutsu (the recitation of the Lotus Sutra). Honen-in Temple near Ginkakuji Temple is said to have been built on the site of this hermitage. However, this temple and Honen-in do not seem to have any particular relationship with each other. Both seem to be single temples of the Jodo sect.
This temple is open to the public only in spring and fall.
This temple has a very sad origin. Here is a quote from the temple website. You can hear this story directly from the attendant at the Anrakuji Temple.
Matsumushi and Suzumushi, courtesans of the Emperor Gotoba, were impressed by the teachings of Honen Shonin and Juren and Anraku Shonin, and eventually came to wish to enter the Buddhist school. In December 1206, while Emperor Gotoba was away on a pilgrimage to Kumano in Kishu, They secretly left the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the middle of the night to visit the “Shikagatani Hermitage” to shave their hair and ask to be ordained. At first, the Shonin did not approve of his ordination, but they were impressed by the poems of the two princesses.
When the emperor learned of this, he was furious and attempted to suppress the Buddhist priests who preached the teaching of nenbutsu. The following year, on February 9, 1207, Juryo Shonin was beheaded in Mabuchi, Omi Province (present-day Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture), and on the same day, Anraku Shonin was beheaded in Rokujokawara, Kyoto (near Higashi Honganji Temple). The persecution did not stop there; Honen Shonin was exiled to Sanuki Province (Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture) and Shinran Shonin to Echigo Province (Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture). This was the so-called “Ken’ei (Jogen) Law Tribulation.
After that, both nuns passed the rest of their lives in Buddhist meditation at Komyo-bo on Ikuchi-shima Island in the Seto Inland Sea.
Kamakura shogunate defeated Emperor Gotoba in the Jokyu Rebellion of 1221. He was exiled to Oki. He was a man of many talents, including the compilation of the Shinkokin waka anthology, but he was apparently a man of great vigor.
Model course to visit Anrakuji Temple
This temple is located near the famous Philosopher’s path. You can visit several interesting temples along the path.
If you love hiking, then take a course of the Kyoto Trail.