The history of Senyu-ji can be traced back to an earlier temple that was located here and founded around 830 by priest Shinshu. In 1219 a larger temple was built by Shunjyo who studied and admired the Sung dynasty of China. The temple was named after a spring that can be found on its grounds. The imperial family respected Sennyu-ji and its sect, and in 1242 emperor Shijo was buried here. Other emperors followed and several mausoleums can now be found around the temple. The imperial patronage of Senyu-ji produced the nickname "Midera (御寺)" or Mitera, meaning "The Imperial Family's temple".
A wide slope descends in the forest from the temple gate to its buildings. The two first large halls outside the temple walls are the Sharin-den (reliquary) and the Butsu-den (Buddha's hall). An extra fee is required to visit the walled part of the temple, which is the most interesting. Most visitors will come here in the autumn to see the zen garden in front of the Reimei hall.
The temple being a bit hard to access without a map, most tourists will prefer to stop at the nearby Tofuku-ji; the atmosphere remains relatively quiet here even during the peak season. The best way to reach the temple is to stop at the Tofuku-ji station (東福寺駅) and use the aptly named Sennyu-ji-michi (泉涌寺道). Quite a few other minor temples are located along that road, but few can be visited. Sennyu-ji has two sub-temples that can be visited: Unryuu-in (雲龍院) and Raigo-in (来迎院). The first one could even be more interesting that Sennyu-ji itself...
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Nearby: Imakumano Kannon-ji 今熊野観音寺 (220m), Goshanotaki Jinja 五社之瀧神社 (300m), Fushikura Daijin 伏倉大神 (310m), Sokushū-in 即宗院 (480m), Ryōgin-an 龍吟庵 (540m), Kaizan-dō 開山堂 (610m), Tōfuku-ji 東福寺 (680m), Shōrin-ji 勝林寺 (690m), Ikkai-in 一華院 (740m), Kōmyō-in 光明院 (740m),...
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Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 東山, Higashiyama, Senyu-ji, 泉涌寺, temple, 寺院, 仏閣