On a blazing hot weekday in early May, we rode over through Kyoto's museum area in Okazaki en route to Eikando Temple.
Surrounded by temples and old villas, the neighborhood near Eikando is one of the few in Kyoto that retains most of its pre-1960s charm.
From the museums and the massive torii gate in Okazaki, you can walk up Nijo Street for about 10-15 minutes and arrive not too exhausted to enjoy the scenery.
Go past the zoo on your right and keep walking towards the mountains at the edge of eastern Kyoto.
Another possibility is to walk the Philosopher's Walk to its southern end; the temple is not far from this point.
Eikando is known for many things, primarily though as the home of the priest Yokan who was better known as Eikan (and hence the name of the temple). He converted to the Jodo sect of Buddhism around 1225 and from that time on devoted himself to the poor and sick.
Eikando Temple was, like much of Kyoto, destroyed during the Onin War (1467-1477). It was then restored at the beginning of the 16th century.
Today it is one of many must-sees on the fall foliage itinerary of all Japanese tourists. The maple trees and fall colors are about as beautiful as you will find. The inner garden is full of brilliant red maples--and tourists--in late October and early November.
There is also a magnificent 30-inch high statue known as the Turning Amida. A brilliant work, it is highly unusual in that it has its head turned around towards the back.
Another work of art worth seeing is the "Hatou-zu" (Waves) by Hasegawa Tohaku. Many of the screen paintings are on display--but photography is prohibited.
There were few tourists out when we visited, and the the spring greenery and cool of the temple buildings provided a welcome refuge from the heat.
Eikando-cho 48, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075 761 0007
Fee: 600 yen for adults.
Eikando is due north of Nanzenji Temple.
From Kyoto Station, take city bus #5, and get off at "Nanzen-ji Eikando-michi."
From Keihan Sanjo Station, take city bus #5, and get off at "Nanzen-ji Eikando-michi."
From Keihan Marutamachi Station, take a city bus 204 or 93, and get off at "Higashi Tenno-cho."
Japanese Art - byobu screens
Japanese Art Books
Japan Tokyo Kyoto Eikando Onin War
Friday, May 11, 2007