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Daitoku-ji Kyoto – The Temple of Samurai / 大徳寺(京都)

2013.05.27 [PLACES,WHAT'S NEW]

Daitoku-ji Kyoto – The Temple of Samurai / 大徳寺(京都)

The Temple of Samurai, Daitoku-ji (Kyoto) / 大徳寺

In the northern Kyoto districts of Murasakino lies the tranquil, secretive temple of Daitoku-ji.
A Rinzai sect of Buddhism temple. Daitoku-ji was established around 1315, towards the end
of the Kamakura period, but destroyed by fire in the fierce fighting of the Onin War of 1474
that destroyed much of the ancient capital. The important Daitoku-ji was soon rebuilt under
the direction of the famed priest Ikkyu Sojun, who had been chosen by the Emperor
Go- Tsuchimikado to re-establish the temple. Some 21 smaller Momoyama period sub-temples
grace the main Zen temples’ precincts, and are dedicated to a number of the noble samurai class.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi had one of those temples, the Souken-in quickly established in order to perform
funeral and memorial services for his fallen master, Oda Nobunaga following his assassination in 1582.






 (Monument to Oda Nobunaga in the Soken-in, within the Daitoku-ji)


There are temples dedicated to Ishida Mitsunari who was vanquished at Sekigahara and later executed,
also the warrior Kuroda Nagamasa and many others, however, only a few are available for viewing,
such as the Daisen-in, Zuiho-in, Ryogen-in and the Koto-in.  The warlord Hosokawa Tadaoki, a powerful
daimyo and master of the tea ceremony erected the Koto-in in 1601 as both a clan temple and in memory
of his father, the respected scholar and commander, Fujitaka. The temple has long been associated with
the Way of Tea, and one of the former monastery’s many features include the Ihoku, a re-creation of the
residence of the Hosokawa’s much admired great Tea Master, Sen no Rikyu.


The path leading to the reception hall too is especially beautiful, made of closely laid stepping stones,
lined by rich moss lying thick under rows of ancient maple trees and bamboo groves. The garden
surrounding the temple is also renown for it’s year round allure and becomes especially popular during
the later months for the autumnal leaves.



です。 ※上写真は、大徳寺・総見院の信長碑



 Death of the Tea Master

The impressive Karamon Gate of the temple is said to have once been part of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s
sumptuous Jurakudai Palace, and is a designated National Treasure, as are the early Edo period abbots’
residence and dry Zen landscape gardens. The temple’s Sanmon Gate, Chokushimon Gate, (Imperial
Messenger’s Gate) and  Butsuden Hall are all designated Important Cultural Properties. The second floor
of the Sanmon was renovated by the tea master Sen no Rikyu, who is said to have placed a wooden
image of himself above the gateway. This breach much angered the nation’s ruler, Toyotomi Hideyoshi,
who ordered the tea master to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide. On the 28th of each month, memorial
services are performed for the tea master who dabbled in politics and whose grave also lies within the
sprawling 23 hectare grounds.


Visitors to the Daitoku-ji may be surprised to discover many of the National Treasures and Cultural
assets are only viewable on a few select days of the year, and only a limited number of areas are
accessible to tourists year round.


There is surprisingly little information available on the secretive Daitoku-ji and it’s 21 sub-temples
regardless of its importance and fame. However, despite not being able to see all that it has to offer,
the areas open year round to the public will not disappoint. The temples’ connection to many historical
figures from the warring States period, it’s deep association with the traditional Tea Ceremony, and
the scenery of the Daitokuji will leave you breathless.


 (The Daitoku-ji’s Sanmon Gate) 






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Address; Address: 53 Murasakino Daitokuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, 603-8231 Japan


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