Chishakuin is the head temple of the Chisan School (智山派, ちさんは)of the Shingon sect of Buddhisum (真言宗, しんごんしゅう) and approx. 3,000 temples belong to Chisan School in Japan.

  • Chief Priest Genyū
    Chief Priest Genyū
    (玄宥, げんゆう)
  • Kōbōdaishi Kūkai
    Kōbōdaishi Kūkai
    (弘法大師 空海,こうぼうだいし くうかい)

The founder of the Chisan School is Chief Priest Gen'yū (玄宥, げんゆう) who inherited the teachings of Kōbōdaishi Kūkai(弘法大師 空海,こうぼうだいし くうかい) and Chishakuin in Kyoto was founded in early Edo period with support from Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shōgun of Tokugawa dynasty. During the Edo period, it flourished as a center for Buddhist studies and training, receiving over 5,000 monks, not only from the Shingon sect but from other sects also. At present, it serves as a practice center for Chisan Shingon monks and also as a public place for lay devotees .

Chishakuin had been as a sub-temple of Daidenpōin (大伝法院) at Negorosan (根来山) in Wakayama. In 16th centry Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉,とよとみひでよし) totally destroyed Daidenpōin including Chishakuin and other sub-temples. Chief Priest Genyu and other monks in Chishakuin evacuated to Koyasan and Chishakuin was revived with the beginning of the Tokugawa Era.

The garden(名勝庭園, めいしょうていえん)

The garden

The garden, one of the most famous in Kyoto, was inspired by the area around Mt.Lushan in China and offers a distinct beauty according to the season.

The paintings in Chishakuin(国宝障壁画, こくほうしょうへきが)

The paintings in Chishakuin

The groups of painting , “Pine Tree and Flowering Plants”,”Cherry and Maple Trees”,”Pine and Plum Trees” and “Pine Tree, Hibiscus mallow and Chrysanthemums” were distributed on the walls and sliding doors of those two rooms constituting the Ōjoin(大書院,おうじょいん), and mounted as screens.

These magnificent paintings were originally painted to decorate the Shōunji(祥雲寺,しょううんじ), a temple built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in memory of this son Tsurumatsu, who died in 1591 at the age of three. Fourteen years later, after the Toyotomi family went into declice as a result of the fall of Osaka Castle, Tokugawa Iyeyasu gave Shōunji’s facilities to Chishakuin. Subsequently, the Chishakuin suffered from fires and thefts, and the surviving panels and screens constitue about a half of the original total.

The paintings are traditionally ascribed to Hasegawa Tōhaku(長谷川等伯,はせがわとうはく)and his son Kyūzō(久蔵, きゅうぞう).While most of the wall paintings of the Momoyama period that remain today were made after Hideyoshi’s death, these are of great value as works from the time when the period was at its peak.


Address :964 Higashi-kawaramachi, Higashi-oji Nanajo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
Telephone : 075-541-5361
Access : City Bus to "Higashiyama Shichijo".
Fee(Grounds) : Free
Fee(Treasure Museum, Garden) : 500 yen
Open : 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m.