Gokashitsu Monzeki (Five Monzeki Temple) Tour

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What is “Gokashitsu Monzeki”?

In the Tendai sect, five temples in Kyoto (Myohoin, Sanzenin, Seirenin, Manjuin, and Bishamondo) are collectively called the “Kyoto Gokashitsu Monzeki” of the Tendai sect. Official WEB site of Tenday Sect

This tour course will take you to these five monzeki temples. Transportation is by bus, train, and on foot. Some temples are located outside the city of Kyoto, some in the southeast, and some in the north. So you need a full day to visit all five temples.

Monzeki temples are generally temples whose chief priests are members of the imperial family or noble families. In addition to the Gokashitsu Monzeki of the Tendai sect, there are many other monzeki temples in Kyoto.

One of the Gokashitsu Monzeki, Sanzenin
Sanzenin Temple main hall

Sanzenin Temple in Ohara

Located in Ohara, in the mountains north of Kyoto City, Sanzenin Temple has Buddhist statues that are national treasures and a beautiful garden. It is also famous for its autumn foliage.

Manshu-in Temple in Ichijodani

Located in the Ichijodani area of Kyoto City, Manshu-in Temple became a monzeki temple in the Muromachi period. It is famous for its national treasures such as Kifudo (yellow fudo) and autumn leaves. Unfortunately, Kifudo is no longer available for viewing due to conservation. However, there is an elaborate copy.

Shorenin Monzeki

Shorenin was associated with the imperial family since the Heian period. It is famous for its palace-like buildings and beautiful garden.

Myohoin Temple in Higashiyama

Myohoin, located in Higashiyama-ku, is a temple that became a monzeki temple in the early Kamakura period. Also Myohoin manages the famous Sanjusangendo. However, Myohoin is usually not open to the public. So it is difficult to enter except on specific days.

Bishamondo Monzeki in Yamashina

The best season to visit Bishamondō Monzeki in Yamashina is for its beautiful autumn leaves.

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