Furthur inside the Arashiyama district in Kyoto, there is a mountain called Ogurayama in the Saga area. Joujakkouji Temple is in the middle of the mountain and has a very quiet, yet fantastic scenery in its premise. Let’s see the temple in beautiful green!
Arashiyama area in Kyoto is one of the most popular area to tourists, not only from home but abroad. I’ve introduced Anotehr Hidden Gem! Enjoy Beautiful Nature In Arashiyama Park, Kyoto, and other appealing sites in many articles.
Today, I will introduce you to Joujakkouji Temple and its beautiful surroundings which are covered up by moss, green maple leaves, etc. The fantastic scenery brings your mind calm relaxation.
The address of the temple is: 3 Ogura-cho, Ogurayama, Saga Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City. I visited on 24 September 2015.
History Of Joujakkouji Temple
In 1615-1624, Kukyouin Nisshin was the 16th representative of Honkokuji Temple and moved to the mountain to leave behind society and live in seclusion.
Kukyouin Nisshin had a breadth of knowledge of theology and Japanese poetry (Waka in Japanse). Even though he decided to live in seclusion, there were many people visited him such as Yoshihusa Miyoshi (the Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s son-in-law), Zuiryuin Nisshu (Hideyoshi’s sister), Hideaki Kobayakawa (Hideyoshi’s nephew), Kiyomasa Kato (one of Hideyoshi’s men), etc.
Joujakkouji is in the middle of Ogurayama Mountain. The mountain has been one of the favourite themes in Waka (Japanese poetry) since 8th century. Kukyouin Nisshin was very famous poet. The mountain was the perfect place for him to live in seclusion.
As I mentioned in the article before about Daihikaku Senkouji, Kukyouin Nisshin had a good relationship with Ryoui Suminokura, who was one of the most successful business people in Kyoto. Kukyouin supported Ryoui when he was working on improvement of Oigawa River (as known as Hozugawa River) by sending skilled engineers. The success of the project is the origin of Hozugawa River Boat Ride which has been popular activity in Arashiyama area.
“Joujakkouji” in Kanji (Japanese character) means “the lit temple in solitude at all times.” It sounds a bit sad...but in Buddhist terminology, it means “the Pure Land where Buddha lives and which is absolute truth, there’s no foul passion, and it is eternally covered the light of ultimate prajna.” The name of Joujakkouji Temple is derived from the temple is only light of prajna in such quiet and calm mountain.
Joujakkouji Temple is also called as Nokibadera Temple.
One of the greatest Japanese poet Teika Fujiwara, who made a selection of the anthology of Waka poems. This anthology is called Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. Teika made a selection in a cottage in Ogurayama Mountain. The name of Nokibadera comes from one of Teika’s poem. The poem says his wistful feeling to someone who he yearned for by saying “I feel like being a pine tree at the edge of this eaves. I lost count of how long I’ve waited for you to come by standing up here (the edge of eaves is Nokiba in Japanese).”
（Reference from Kyoto Tourism Culture Certification Test Official Textbook and the brochure of Joujakkouji Temple）
Let’s Take A Walk From Sanmon And Nioumon
This is Sanmon (the main gate of the buddhist temple).
Nioumon in far and green maple leaves.
This Nioumon (the Deva Gate) has been brought over from Honkokuji Temple which was Kukyouin Nisshin came from. The gate was built in 14th century, was brought over to Joujakkouji Temple in 1617, and dismantled and repaired twice since then.
Green moss carpet aroung Nioumon.
Rain makes moss even more greener… As you know, simplicity is a key of Japanese sence of beauty.
The Main Hall
After Nioumon, let’s go to the main hall.
This is a stone stairway from Nioumon to the main hall.
Beautiful and breathtaking moss green carpet on both sides.
From the top of the stairway. Nioumon is in far.
Marvelously beautiful green maple leaves in front of the main hall.
Art of nature...moss at the main hall.
Found ginkgo nuts on green...making beautiful dots!
More steps...You can tell the stairway is long...
Myoken Large Bodhisattva is surrounded by green.
From the back of Myoken Large Bodhisattva. There’s bamboos covering.
Paths/stairways from Myoken Large Bodhisattva to Shiguretei site.
Shiguretei site. Shiguretei is the cottage where Teika Fujiwara was staying while he made a selection of Hyakunin Isshu.
This is called Tahoto Pagoda. It was build in 1620, and has been registered as Japanese national treasure.
Beautiful fresh maple leaves decorate the pagoda.
This is the women’s monument. There were over 500,000 women lost their fiances during the WWII. The monument commemorates these women who lived in such tough time after the war by themselves.
The path from the women’s monument to Nioumon. Covered by deep green.
Around Sueyoshisaka Slope.
Rain and serene sun light makes leaves and moss even more beautiful.
Fantastic green in Joujakkouji Temple! Quiet and a little bit of lonesome feeling...the temple has embodied true Japanese sence of beauty Wabi-Sabi.
Ogurayama Mountain that people have adored over 1,000 years and was one of the favoutite themes in Waka, and Joujakkouji Temple where you can find peace of mind...please enjoy the quiet and peaceful moment!
As you see, Joujakkouji in green is beautiful, but it becomes burning red in autumn. Please refer here for Joujakkouji Temple in red!