Only a few tourists visit Anyoji Temple, located on the eastern slope of Yasaka Jinja Shrine and Maruyama Park. Even most of Japanese tourists do not know about this temple.
Although there is not much to see here, the temple has a long history. It was built by Saicho during the Enryaku era (782 – 806) by the order of Emperor Kanmu. It fell into disrepair during the Heian period (794-1185). But Honen took up residence here in 1175 with the help of Jien, a Tendai sect priest who lived in nearby Shorenin Temple. Honen built Yoshimizu Sōan and began to spread the teachings of the Jōdo sect. Furthermore, Shinran, who eventually became the founder of the Jodo Shin sect, came to this area in 1201 and became Honen’s disciple.
Later, in 1385, Kokua, a monk of the Jishu sect, came to this temple and converted Anyoji Temple to the Jishu sect. The temple rose again. And in its heyday, there were six subsidiary temples (so-called Rokuamibo) in the precincts. Among them, Shigeami is famous for the Ako Ronin who held the Maruyama Conference in late Edo period.
Today, only the main hall, Shoin, Yoshimizu-benzaitennyo-do, and the ryotei (Japanese-style high-end restaurant) “Saami” remain.
“Saami” is one of the former Rokuamibo. Saami was converted into a ryotei and is no longer a temple.
Nearby spots from Anyoji Temple
Although it is a small hall with do attendance, Yoshimizu-benzaitennyo-do is a remain of the old-day Anyoji Temple.
If you go down the path in Maruyama Park, iconic Yasaka Jinja Shrine is just a short walk away. And beyond the vermilion-lacquered gate of the shrine is the Gion area.
If you head east along the Higashiyama mountain, you will find Chorakuji Temple. It also has a long history. The garden is also the site of a lighting event in the fall.