Gansen-ji was founded when Emperor Shomu had a dream while travelling in the area and promptly ordered to build an Amida hall in this narrow valley. This was in 729. After a first destruction, the temple was rebuilt in 806 by Chisen Daishi. The prayers of Chisen helped Emperor Nimyo get a son, which led to much land being given to the temple. The temple prospered, and at the peak of its glory had 39 buildings on its grounds. War in 1221 destroyed most of the buildings, but rebuilt later, only to be burned down again. After a period of disrepair, the temple was finally renovated in 1987. The pagoda dates from 1442, and features small statues of white-eyed guardians under the four corners of its lower roof.
The temple has a narrow path that circles the pagoda on the hillside. This provides a rare opportunity to see a pagoda from above. Gansen-ji is also known for the numerous flowers which cover its small grounds, apparently year round.
Gansen-ji, like its neighbour Joruri-ji (浄瑠璃寺), is a bit difficult to reach. It is recommended to go to Kintetsu Nara station, where a bus leaves for both temples from a stop in a nearby street.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearest location: Jōruri-ji 浄瑠璃寺 (1.3km)
External links: ウィキペディア, Trip Advisor, 京都風光, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 南京都府, Southern Kyoto, 岩船寺, Ganzen-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣