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.
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.
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.