Genko-an (源光庵) belong to a small group of three temples isolated in the north west of Kyoto, together with Josho-ji (常照寺) and Koetsu-ji (光悦寺). Genko-an was founded in 1346 by Tetsuo Giko from the Daitoku-ji (大徳寺) temple, and he later used the premises as his hermitage.
The temple is most famous for two neighbouring windows: a round one, the Window of Realization, implying enlightenment and a square one, the Window of Delusion, implying ignorance and human suffering. These windows are best viewed in autumn, when the maple trees in the garden are brightly coloured.
In the main hall you will probably see people enthusiastically pointing at the wooden ceiling opposite to the two windows. You will look, and see nothing. It's normal, although there is something indeed. Genko-an includes several floor boards from the Momoyama castle (which was located in Fushimi but was destroyed, only to be rebuilt in concrete). The floor boards (now ceiling boards) are stained by the blood of samurai who fought and died in the battle for the castle. A version of the story also tells they committed seppuku (ritual suicide). The marks are not easy to see, and I suspect that some inventive interpretation may have taken place. But in some case they are very clear, like the feet you will see in a photo below. Many temples in Kyoto, such as Hosen-in (宝泉院), received such floor boards, which were included in the temple structure to help soothing the spirits of the samurai.
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Nearby: Jōshō-ji 常照寺 (110m), Myōken-gū 妙見宮 (140m), Kōetsu-ji 光悦寺 (200m), Shozan Resort Garden しょうざんリゾート (470m), Shōzen-ji 招善寺 (900m), Shōden-ji 正伝寺 (970m)
External links: ウィキペディア, Kyoto Navi, Trip Advisor, Kyoto Design, 京都風光, Marutake, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 北区, Kita-ku, Genko-an, 源光庵, temple, 寺院, 仏閣