Saturday, December 17, 2022

Zenkakuji Temple


Tucked up a narrow opening in the steep side of the Gonokawa River valley just downstream from its mouth, Zenkakuji does not look like a temple, which explains why I passed it many times before ever venturing in to look.

It was founded in the 1950's by a man in one of the many Buddhist sects that sprang uin the postwar period as a reaction to the decadence of the mainstream sects.

The spot was chosen because of a small waterfall, a perfect spot for shugyo, ascetic training.

Water is often associated with dragons and serpents in Japan, and many times I have heard stories of the red rocks such as those found here being linked to dragons blood

There are, of course, several statues of Fudo Myo around the spot where adherents stand under the falling water.

I think the founder had passed away before I moved to the area, but his wife carried on living at the temple. However I am sure she has passsed away since then.

When I stopped in on this walk there was a friendly, young man sweeping the paths the main building was open and I was able to go inside for the first time. As I would have expected it was quite low-key. The place is obviously still being used, but I just noticed that googlemaps has stopped labelling it as a temple.


  1. This is one of those times when I read a post and wish I could walk right through the screen to be in the place you describe.

  2. It's rather lovely isn't it ? Thank you for sharing these places with us, it really is a peek into another way of life.