Shofukuji Temple is entitled to be the first temple in Japan that introduced Zen Buddhism, this enormous piece of architecture was constructed in the year 1195. This great structure brought a new wave of culture and religious outlook amongst the inhabitants of Japan and all this happened because of the person who is responsible for the standing of this glorious temple.
Eisai, a priest who also introduced tea to Japan in the 12th century, made it possible to bring the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism from China to Japan. This gorgeous temple has been standing tall for centuries and that is a glory in itself. This is because it has undergone so many renovations and restorations. It’s imposing Sanmon gate was renovated as early as 1911!
The Enchantress Interiors of Shofukuji Temple
Surrounded by lush green trees and plants all around the place, this is itself an epitome of peace and tranquility. It is hard to not get lost in the beautiful interiors because they are simply enchanting. Why we say enchanting is because even though the temple gates are closed, they still pose as welcoming.
They represent a powerful yet blissful vibe in the atmosphere. The temple doors are closed for visitors and so, you cannot visit them at any point in life. But one can always walk through Shofukuji’s attractive grounds and observe the buildings from outside. This is rather the most wonderful experience on earth. If you are looking for peace and tranquility then this is it.
Out of all the entry gates of the Shofukuji temple, the Sanmon gate is of utmost prominence. Acing up to a height of 22 meters, this gate is the most important one in any Buddhist temple. At Shofukuji, this gate stands in front of a small pond and bridge. It guards the purity of the temple grounds and also makes the surroundings more alluring.
Furthermore, this gate leads to the Butsudan Hall which holds equivalent beauty with a small wooden statue of the historical Buddha. Many other golden statues of Buddhas are placed on either side inside the hall. What is even more eye-catching is that the ceiling of the building is also decorated with a picture of the cloud dragon.
Apart from these features, Shofukuji temple also houses many other gorgeous buildings and innovative sights that will lure you like nothing else. You can also spot some prayers being chanted at a hall dedicated to Eisai. The neighborhood is full of such interesting buildings and that is why Shofukuji is one of the most visited and loved historic sights in Japan.
Significance: A Classic Zen Temple
A classic Zen Temple in Japan, Shofukuji temple is the oldest one there. It has survived the war, natural disasters, and war but has still managed to make an impact around the globe. Imposing itself as one of the finest examples of Kamakura Period architecture Japan, it was also designated as a National Treasure on March 29, 1952.
The Korean style bell is something you cannot miss. Look out for this amazingly carved on the inside as well as the outside for remembrance of a lifetime. One popular tradition here is to help the locals to cure illness. Outside the hall, there are several wooden dolls that are taken to the ill person’s home. Upon recovery, the original doll along with a new one is returned to the Shofukuji temple. This has a lot of significance amongst the locals.
Surrounded by interesting buildings, smaller temples, and narrow lanes, Shofukuji temple is counted amongst the top places for tourism and for those who are looking for a peaceful walk.