Kongorinji Temple is a peaceful place of respite off the well-beaten path. Venture outside of the popular tourist spots of Kyoto and you’ll find that Shiga Prefecture’s Kongorinji Temple offers a blissful and more personal experience.
Complete with leisurely gardens and statues of Jizo, Kannon, and others, Kongorinji Temple offers its guests a quieter temple experience due to its more remote location.
Founded in the Nara period by Gyuki Bodhisattva at the bidding of the Emperor in 741, the temple is surrounded by legends. One such legend holds that when the eleven-faced Kannon statue was carved, the bark bled for days - signifying that the soul of a Kannon dwelled inside. This famous Kannon statue attracts serious followers from around the country.
The main hall, designated a National Treasure, is a great representative of Kamakura-period buildings. The hall houses Buddha statues from the Heian to the Kamakura period. Many of the statues, including the statue of Amitabha Nyorai and the eleven-faced Kannon, are designated as National Important Cultural Properties.
Also, on the temple grounds, visitors can enjoy the serene beauty of the three-storied pagoda from the Kamakura period, the Nitenmon gate from the Muromachi period and the grand garden. The gardens have been declared a Japanese Scenic Spot of Beauty.
The Jizo statues on the grounds of Kongorinji Temple are carefully adorned by faithful . Jizo are protectors of children, including the unborn, travelers, and firefighters.
These 500-year old gardens have been designated a Place of Scenic Beauty and it’s no wonder. Beautiful in any season, they’re especially popular during autumn.
This hand-carved statue of Kannon shows her eleven faces, placed atop her head. It’s said that the statue bled after being carved, and that the statue holds her soul.
Reach the temple by train to Inae Station, by taxi or by a shuttle bus that runs in November.