Shokokuji Temple (相国寺)

From the Imadegawa Gomon gate on the north side of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, walk north past the Doshisha University campus and you will soon come to Shokokuji Temple. Shokokuji Temple is the head temple of the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism.

Temple’s official WEB site

The temple was founded by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, and founded by Muso Soseki. The Dharma Hall was rebuilt in 1605 with a donation from Toyotomi Hideyori, and is an important cultural property. The ceiling of the hall is painted with coiling dragons, or so-called Nakiryu. It was painted by Mitsunobu Kano and is a must-see.

This temple is also home to the Shotenkaku Art Museum. This museum holds special exhibitions almost all year round, except when the exhibits are being replaced.

Shokokuji is also a temple related to Ito Jakuchu, and there is a memorial tower where Jakuchu’s hair is kept (we don’t know where it is). Also, the Shotenkaku Art Museum often holds exhibitions related to Jakuchu. So if you are interested in Jakuchu’s paintings, you should check it out.

Well-know Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji are sub-temples of Shokokuji. Although this temple is not so well known, it’s a very important temple in Kyoto. So please visit there as well.

This visit was conducted during the spring special viewing. This temple opens its buildings to the public only during the special viewing periods in spring and fall.

Model courses to visit Shokokuji Temple

This temple is one of the Kyoto Gozan, the five great zen temples of Kyoto.

Nearby spots

Kyoto Imperial Palace is a little further south. You can visit there all year round.

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  2. […] but it was newly painted in 1997, and to be honest, it was not as powerful as the Unryuzu in Shokokuji and Myoshinji temples. If you ask me if it is worth paying for, I would not recommend […]

  3. […] official name of Ginkakuji Temple is Higashiyama Jishoji Temple, one of the sub-temples of Shokokuji Temple. Ginkakuji is based on Higashiyama-den, a villa built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th Shogun of the […]

  4. […] Sekihoji Temple is a temple of the Őbaku school of Zen Buddhism and has distinctive Chinese-style gates. It is the place where Ito Jakuchu spent the last years of his life, and his cemetery is also located in the temple (his hair was buried in Shokokuji Temple). […]

  5. […] important temples of the Rinzai sect in Kyoto. They include, from highest rank, Tenryuji Temple, Shokokuji Temple, Kenninji Temple, Tofukuji Temple, and Manjuji Temple, with Nanzenji Temple as the specially ranked […]

  6. […] important temples of the Rinzai sect in Kyoto. They include, from highest rank, Tenryuji Temple, Shokokuji Temple, Kenninji Temple, Tofukuji Temple, and Manjuji Temple, with Nanzenji Temple as the specially […]

  7. […] Shokokuji Temple and its numerous sub-temples are not far. This temple is the head temple of the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism. The Temple also houses many works of art and other artifacts. The exhibitions at the temple’s museum are also a must-see. […]