Shoden Eigen-in is a sub-temple of Kenninji Temple, the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. In the Kamakura period, when the temple was founded, there were two temples, Shoden-in and Eigen-an. However, during the confusion caused by the abolition of Buddhism in the Meiji period (1868-1912), Eigen-an was unfortunately uninhabited and was immediately closed. However, since Eigen-an was located directly north of the main temple, its hall was spared from demolition and Shoden-in, which was located northeast of the main temple, was relocated to Eigen-in’s place.
Shodenin once fell into disrepair, but was rebuilt in 1618 by Oda Urakusai (a famous tea master and younger brother of Oda Nobunaga) who retired after the winter battle of Osaka. He also built a tea ceremony house, Nyoan (now moved to Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture), in Shoden-in.
Eigen-an was the family temple of Yoriyasu Hosokawa, the founder of the Hosokawa family, and his eight succeeding generations. It was the most important of the many family temples of Hosokawa clan. Therefore, the name of the temple was changed to Shoden Eigen-in to preserve “Eigen-an” name.
Shoden Eigen-in is closed for the public except some special opening events. The garden is beautiful, although not large.
Kenninji Temple is a must-visit temple. Kenninji’s sub-temples are often open to the public for a limited time. Please consult your guide.
Those interested in Buddhist statues should also visit the nearby Rokuharamitsuji Temple.