Kozan-Ji and Saint Myoe


Kozanji (Koozanji 高山寺)

***** Location: Kyoto
***** Season: See below
***** Category: Observance


This temple is most famous for the autumn leaves.

Kozan-ji Temple, being also called as Toganoo-san, belongs to the Shingon school of Buddhism and is dedicated to Shaka Nyorai Buddha. It was registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto in 1994.

Primary attraction of this temple would be a national treasure, Sekisui-in building. Replicas of national treasures are displayed in the building. Those are the "Choju Jinbutsu Giga 鳥獣戯画巻", a series of animal caricatures said to have been drawn by Toba Sojo (1053-1140), and
a painting called "Myoe Shonin Jujo Zazen-zu 明恵上人".

Kozan-ji holds a large number of treasures, including about 10,000 Important Cultural Assets as well as eight National Treasures including those mentioned above.

Tradition has it that Kozan-ji was founded in 774 by the order of the Emperor Konin (709-782 光仁天皇), at which time the temple was named "Shingan-ji Togaobo 貞観寺". It is said that the name was changed to Kozan-ji after the temple was revived in 1206 by priest Myoe (1173-1232) as a training hall for reviving the Kegon school of Buddhism by the order of the retired Emperor Gotoba (1180-1239).

Priest Myoe was given a few seeds of tea plant by Zen master Eisai (1141-1215) and planted them in the temple's ground at the beginning of the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), launching the spread of tea cultivation throughout the country. In recognition of this history, tea producers from Uji make an offering of new tea in front of the temple's Shoninbyo mausoleum each year on November 8th.
source : takao/kozanji.htm


Kozan-Ji, Golden Hall

Jingo-ji houses a diagram of Kōzan-ji that was drawn in 1230, some 20 years after it was constructed. The diagram is registered as an important cultural property, because it shows the original layout of the temple. From the diagram, we know that Kōzan-ji originally consisted of a large gate, a main hall, a three-storied pagoda, a hall dedicated to Amitabha, a hall dedicated to Lohan, a bell tower, a scripture hall, and a Shinto shrine dedicated to the tutelary deity of the area. However, all of these buildings have since been destroyed, save for the scripture hall, which is now known as Sekisui-in.

In addition to Sekisui-in, today's Kōzan-ji also contains a main hall (originally part of Ninna-ji, relocated to Kōzan-ji) and a hall dedicated to the founding of the temple, which houses an important carved wooden bust of Myōe. Both of these buildings, however, are modern reconstructions.
-  More in the WIKIPEDIA !


observance kigo for early winter

Toganoo mushi kuyoo 栂尾虫供養 (とがのおむしくよ)
memorial service for the bugs at Toganoo

On the 12th and 13th of the tenth lunar month (now November)

The farmers from the region would offer prayers to Amida (nenbutsu 念仏講) for the souls of the bugs they had to kill during the rice-growing season.


Myoe Shonin 明恵上人 (1173-1232)
Saint Myo-e
was a high-ranking monk of the Kegon Sect of Buddhism and was active in the beginning of the Kamakura period. He was much admired as a priest of virtue for his profound learning and noble deeds. Myoe Shonin was born to a distinguished family in Kii Province (present-day Wakayama and Mie Prefectures). He lost his parents as a child, and went to Kyoto to live with his uncle Jogaku, who was a monk at Jingoji Temple in Mt. Takao. At age 16, he renounced the world and was initiated into Buddhism at Todaiji Temple in Nara, whereupon he took the name Myoebo Joben. From the age of 36, he became known as Koben.

Myoe then returned to his homeland to leave the worldliness of this world and led a rigorous life of religious training in the Yuasa Bay area. During this time, it is said that Myoe attempted to go to India for the love of Buddha, but the deities enshrined in Kasuga Shrine prohibited him from embarking on this trip. With the slogan "Return to Buddha," he tried to proselytize people to the Kegon Sect. In 1206, the retired Emperor Gotoba granted him land in Toganoo that belonged to Jingoji Temple, where he built Kozanji Temple. He was benevolent and loved nature and all living beings. Myoe was a capable calligrapher, too.
A Zen priest named Eisai gave Myoe some tea seedlings, with which Myoe successfully cultivated tea in the hills of Toganoo.

He recorded his dreams for forty years from the age of nineteen through fifty-eight (1191-1230), because he believed that dreaming is a type of learning. The record that he made is
Yume no ki 夢記 (Records of Dreams).

Yume no ki is also known as On-yume no ki or On-yume on-nikki. Originally, Yume no ki comprised 17 scrolls, seven books, and 28 sheets of unbound pages, but two scrolls came to the attention of the public, subsequently called Yume no ki, which are especially treasured.


The present piece was written on the 25th day of the tenth month of 1229, when he was 57 years of age. The strokes are vigorous, and white light emanating from a flower vase, symbolizing a goddess of India, is drawn in the margin. Typically he used waste paper back, and illustrated pieces such as the present work are highly valued.
source : Miho Museum


Monastic Regulations promulgated by Myoe

In the wooden tablet at Kōzan-ji Temple mentioned above, Myoe listed the following regulations to all monks, divided into three sections:

As Appropriate
Etiquette in the Temple Study Hall
Etiquette in the Buddha-Altar Hall

- - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Statue of Myoe, Seated

Annual Festivals:

The oldest tea house of Japan

The famous scroll of the frolicking animals.
Choojuu-giga scrolls (choju giga) 鳥獣戯画

- Map of the Temple Compound

Homepage of the Temple
source : www.kosanji.com ...


Choju Giga Scroll Slide Show

Here is our FROG in an archery contest

Carrying offerings

Frog and wild boar

Chasing the Monkey

Wrestling with the Rabbit

Finally Frog Buddha and the Monkey

This scroll is one of the fore-runners of Japanese Manga !

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Myoe the Dreamkeeper:
Fantasy and Knowledge
in Early Kamakura Buddhism

George Tanabe

In the Kamakura period, Myoe Shonin (1173-1232) was a leader of Nara Buddhists who sought to revitalize traditional Buddhism in Japan. In his teaching, Myoe specially emphasized the value of the visions that could be achieved through meditation; and in his practice, he kept and occasionally illustrated a diary of his own visions and significant night dreams. The autograph copy of this remarkable document still exists, although some pages have been scattered among collectors.
George J. Tanabe, Jr., here presents in English the most comprehensive compilation of the diary in any language. Moreover, his study of Myoe's life and teachings provides both a context within which the diary can be understood and a view of the often doctrinally contentious world of Kamakura Buddhism.
source : www.amazon.com


source : hiori-note


aka aka ya
aka aka aka ya
aka aka ya
aka aka aka ya
aka aka ya tsuki

bright so bright
bright bright so bright
bright so bright
bright bright so bright
bright so bright moonshine

source : kakinumaism.jugem.jp

The poem by Myoe is not about the redness of the moon,
but about the bright, light moonshine.


Koozanji kaede no mebuki hajimareri

temple Kozan-Ji -
the maple trees just beginning
to bud

Fujisaka Komeko 藤坂込め子


ishidan o yokogiru kiji ari Koozanji

there is a pheasant
crossing the stone steps -
temple Kozan-Ji

Nomura Hakugetsu 野村泊月 (1882 - 1961)

More haiku about this temple

お茶の実がしんしん冷ゆる高山寺 高澤良一 宿好
ハンケチを捩ぢて憩へり高山寺 川崎展宏
一頻り萩刈る音か高山寺 高澤良一 宿好
子鴉の今日から鳴くや高山寺 大峯あきら 宇宙塵
旅びとに斎の柚味噌や高山寺 水原秋櫻子
水引がすいと目に入る高山寺 高澤良一 宿好

老鶯や峯より晴れて高山寺 川澄祐勝
萩萌えて戯画の鳥獣親しくす(高山寺) 河野南畦
虫たべに来て鳥涼し高山寺 宇佐美魚目 天地存問
雛の軸かけて栂尾高山寺 大石悦子 群萌

高山寺ちひさき蛇にあひにけり(栂尾) 細川加賀
高山寺夏の雨きて縁ぬらす 安養白翠
高山寺雲の下り来し茶を摘めり 河前 隆三

source : HAIKUreikuDB


observance kigo for the New Year

Shari-Ko 舎利講 Prayer Meeting for Buddha's bones

January 15
At temples of the Shingon Sect. It was introduced by Saint Myoe.



Myōan Eisai, Myooan Eisai 明菴栄西 Myoan Eisai
(May 27, 1141 – July 2, 1215)

was a Japanese Buddhist priest, credited with bringing the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism and green tea from China to Japan. He is often known simply as
Eisai Zenji (栄西禅師), literally "Zen master Eisai".
- More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Cha no Hijiri 茶の聖 Eisai, the Saint of Tea .

. Seiganji 清岩寺 Seigan-Ji - Fukuoka .
Founded by Eisai

Related words

***** . Saints and their Memorial Days .  

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Anonymous said...

Wow! The photos of the Kyoto temple are truly amazing! How wonderful!

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Miroku Raigo zu 弥勒来迎図 from the Kamakura period
and Fudo Myo-O 不動明王

Gabi Greve said...

Jingoji 神護寺 Jingo-Ji, Kyoto
in Sanbi, 三尾 in Kyoto


Gabi Greve said...

Gedatsu Shoonin, Shōnin 解脱上人 Saint Gedatsu Shonin .
Jōkei 貞慶 Jokei (1155 - 1212)

and Myoe and the 天狗道 Tengudo, the Realm of Tengu

Gabi Greve said...

Kegon-shū 華厳宗 Kegon Sect Buddhism

Gabi Greve said...

Nishimuki Tenjinsha 西向天神社
This shrine had been built by Saint Togano Myoe 栂尾明恵上人 in 1228. Since the main hall faces West, it is called
"West-facing Tenjin Shrine".
It was the protector shrine of 東大久保村鎮守 Higashi Okubo village