Seiryoji Temple (清凉寺)

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Seiryoji Temple, also known as Saga Shakado in Sagano, is a cultural gem awaiting discovery by foreign tourists. Home to the revered Shakyamuni Buddha statue, a national treasure from India, the temple unveils this sacred artifact during special visits. The temple’s origins trace back to Seikaji, the model for Hikaru Genji’s “Saga no Godo” in the Tale of Genji. Housing cultural treasures like the Amida Sansonzo statue, a national treasure, This temple enchants visitors with its rich history. With a main hall reconstructed at the request of Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, Niomon gate from the Edo period, and a picturesque garden, this temple offers a captivating journey into Japan’s cultural tapestry. Don’t miss the intriguing Toyotomi Hideyori Head Mound, adding a mysterious touch to this enchanting temple.

About the temple

Seiryoji Temple has Shakyamuni as its principal deity. The standing statue of Shakyamuni Buddha in the main hall is a national treasure and came from India. This statue is usually kept secret and is only open to the public during special visits.

Seikaji Temple, which was the predecessor of Seiryoji Temple, could be the model for Saga-no-Godo temple. Hikaru Genji built it in the Tale of Genji.

Temple’s official WEB site

You can see the temple’s cultural assets, such as the Amida Sansonzo statue, a national treasure, in the Reihokan. Also, they are not always open to the public.

The main hall was rebuilt at the request of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the fifth Shogun of Edo period. The Niomon gate dates from the mid-Edo period. But the Niomon statues can be from the Muromachi period (1336-1573). The garden behind the main hall is also beautiful.

In a corner of Seiryoji Temple is the Toyotomi Hideyori Head Mound. A skull discovered during excavation of Osaka Castle in 1980 could be that of Toyotomi Hideyori. This is where the skull was buried.

Toyotomi Hideyori Head Mound

Nearby spots from Seiryoji Temple

During the beautiful fall foliage season, you should visit Houkyouin Temple, just a short distance away.

Daikakuji Temple is about 10-minute walk.

You can enjoy traditional Kyoto cuisine including Yudofu (tofu) in Chikusen Tofu Restaurant. The yudofu uses tofu from a famous Saga tofu store. You can find this restaurant in the precinct of the temple.

If you have the opportunity in the fall, I highly recommend visiting nearby Enrian Temple.

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