Chorakuji Temple is located east of Yasaka Jinja Shrine, up the hill from Maruyama Park. It has a long history. In 805 Dengyo Daishi (a great Buddhist priest) created the temple at the order of Emperor Kanmu. It was originally a branch temple of Hieizan Enryakuji Temple of the Tendai sect. Later, in the early Muromachi period, it became a branch of the Jishu sect.
In addition, this temple was originally a large temple with a vast temple area that included most of Maruyama Park. However, during the Edo period, the temple ceded its precincts when the adjacent Otani Mausoleum was built. In the early Meiji period, most of the temple grounds were incorporated into Maruyama Park.
The temple garden was created by Soami during the Muromachi period. It was a prototype of the garden for Ginkakuji Temple. Today, however, the condition seems not so well maintained due to the construction and renovation works on adjacent land.
In the repository are seven statues of Yugyo Shonin including Ippen Shonin, by the Kei school engravers. Ippen Shonin is the founder of the Jishu sect. Many of the wooden statues are important cultural properties. Though, the most famous Ippen Shonin statue is in the Rokuharamitsuji Temple.
At the end of the Heian period, Kenreimonin Tokuko shaved her hair here to become a nun. She was the daughter of Taira no Kiyomori and wife of Emperor Takakura. There is a stone pagoda enshrining Kenreimonin in the temple grounds. Later, Kenreimonin spent the rest of her life at Jakkoin Temple in Ohara.
Nearby spots from Chorakuji Temple
Down the hill is iconic Yasaka Jinja Shrine. There, many buildings are national treasures and important cultural properties. And beyond the vermilion-lacquered gate of the shrine is the Gion area.