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Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Eikando Temple

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Eikando Temple

Eikando Temple (永観堂, Eikando), formally known as Zenrinji Temple, belongs to the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located just north of the large temple complex of Nanzenji, Eikando is very famous for its autumn colors and the evening illuminations that take place in fall. The temple has a long history, and there are a variety of buildings and a pond garden that visitors can explore. A court noble of the Heian Period (710-1185) donated his villa to a priest, who converted it into a temple under the name Zenrinji (lit. "temple in a calm grove"). At its founding, Zenrinji was part of the Shingon sect and its first head priest was a disciple of the great Kobo Daishi, the sect's founder. In the 11th century, Zenrinji had a popular head priest named Eikan, after whom the temple is popularly named Eikando. Eikan is credited with acquiring the temple's main object of worship, an unusual statue of the Amida Buddha with his head turned sideways.