Saishoin Temple, Nanzenji (最勝院)


Nestled tranquilly north of Nanzenji temple, Saishoin Temple invites you to a serene haven enveloped by nature’s embrace throughout the seasons. Dedicated to the revered Kamakura-period high priest, Koma Dochi, this temple exudes historical significance. Serving as the guardian deity of Nanzenji Temple, Saishoin holds a cherished position in the hearts of worshipers, especially renowned for bestowing good fortune. The meticulously landscaped garden, adorned with stunning autumn foliage, enhances the temple’s allure, offering a picturesque retreat. Explore this hidden gem free of charge, where the sacred Komagataki Fall, Saishoin’s inner sanctuary, awaits a short journey up the mountain, promising a truly enriching Kyoto experience.


From the Nanzenji temple grounds, pass through the Suirokaku (Waterway Pavilion) and continue north to Saishoin Temple. It is a quiet temple and trees surround the temple ground. Therefore, visitors can enjoy nature in every season.

Saishoin Entrance

History

High priest of the Kamakura period (1185-1333), Koma Dochi, was from the Kujo family of nobles. He trained at Mt. Hieizan, then served as chief abbot of Mitsui Temple (Shiga Prefecture) and abbot of Zenrinji Temple (Eikando), where he died at Komagataki Fall. Saishoin Temple was built on the same site to worship High Priest Komadochi, and its name derives from the name of the monks’ temple.

Saishoin Temple
A plaque in the main hall reads Koma Daisojo (High Priest).

In 1264, Emperor Kameyama built a detached palace, Zenrin-ji-den. Saishoin Temple became the guardian of the Zenrin-ji-den. When the detached palace became Nanzenji Temple, Saishoin beame the guardian deity of Nanzenji Temple. Now it’s a sub-temple of Nanzenji Temple.

Since then, ordinary citizens have worshipped the temple and Nanzenji sect as a whole. This temple is especially famous as a god of luck.

This temple is a small but beautiful temple. The garden in front of the temple’s main building is very beautifully landscaped. Especially in late fall, although there are only a few trees, the autumn leaves in the grounds are very beautiful. The temple grounds are free of charge.

Komagataki Fall is located a short distance up the mountain from the temple. It is now the inner sanctuary of the temple.

Tripadvisor

Nearby spots from Saishoin Temple

Nanzenji Temple is popular for cherry blossoms in spring, green maples in early summer, and autumn leaves in fall.

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