eToko Japan image

‘P•õŽ›  Yoshimine Temple


Last update May 26, 2011

Japanese Era List
Japanese Emperors
Chinese Dynasties
Sightseeing Glossary
Glossary Detailed Explanation
ACCESS: Mukomachi (Œü’¬) station, JR Kyoto line or Higashi Muko (“ŒŒü“ú) station, Hankyu Kyoto line --> Hankyu bus No. 66 bound for Yoshimine Dera (‘P•õŽ›) or taxi. (

A Temple for All-Season Viewing Pleasure
Cherry Blossoms in Spring, Hydrangeas in Summer, Red Leaves in Autumn, and More...

Click photos to enlarge
From Gorgeous Blossoms to Unknown Wild Flowers

There are many temples and shrines famous for specific flowers. But there is a few places, except for botanical gardens, that can give such an impressive catalog of plants and trees for public viewing. In March, ume (Japanese apricot) blossoms start the flower seasons to follow. From April to May is the season for shidare zakura (Cerasus spachiana), a species of cherry blossoms with soft, flexible branches; rhododendrons; peonies and azaleas. In mid-June to early July, twenty species of hydrangeas (total 7000 roots) in blue, light purple and pink magnificently decorate the entire garden measuring 9900 square meters; and in August, a 150-year sarusuberi or crape myrtle blooms. September and October are the time for shumei giku or the Japanese anemone to flourish. In November to early December, trees ablaze with vivid red and yellow leaves. Beside those listed, there are innumerable wild plants and flowers modestly claim their place at corners and roadsides within the temple premises.

Another famous item to see here is Yu Ryu no Matsu, literally meaning "Idling Dragon Pine Tree", 600-year five-needle pine tree with an appearance like a dragon stretching itself. The pine tree measures more than 40 meters in length and is listed as a national natural monument.

A Mountain Ascetic Temple Protected by Historical Emperors

Located deep in mountains, Yoshimine temple is the 20th ascetic training ground listed among the thirty-three West Japan pilgrimage temples. It was founded by Master Genzan in 1029, and the 11-faced, 1000-armed Avalokiteshvara he carved himself was enshrined as the principal image. As the faith in Avalokiteshvara became popular, the temple gradually gained prestige; and since Emperor Goichijō showed special honor to the temple by offering the new temple name, it enjoyed continuous respect and protection by later emperors. In the middle ages, it expanded into a large sanctuary comprising more than fifty buildings.

However, the War of Ōnin (1467 to 1477) caused fires, which ruined major part of the temple. Most of the halls in the premises have been reconstructed by the aid of a woman named Keishō in, mother of the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in the Edo period (1603 - 1867). The multi-story pagoda, rededicated in 1621 is the oldest kind existing today, and has been listed as an important national cultural property. The Atavaka image scroll created in the Kamakura period (1192 - 1333) is also registered as an important cultural property of Japan; and the pair of mandalas owned by the temple is specified as a cultural asset of Kyoto.
Click photos to enlarge