At an old secluded temple Eshin-in, you’ll be refreshed by viewing seasonal flowers.
Written by National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter Ikuko Kubota
Walking about 10 minutes along the Uji river from Keihan Uji station in Uji city, you’ll get to a secluded old Buddhist temple named Eshin-in. The cozy temple is nicknamed “flower temple” by the locals as there are a wide variety of flowers planted on the temple ground. Generously it’s free to enter the temple garden and walk around there freely. The abbot says the former abbot loved flowers and planted them in the precincts so that the visitors could enjoy the seasonal flowers. The female abbot says if visitors could be refreshed by visiting there, she would be happy. But please do not pick them up.
The temple has a long history, dating back to the 9th century, originally founded by one of the greatest priests in Japan named Kukai also known as Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect.
Here you see a stone statue of Kukai, the founder of the temple. Later the temple was rebuilt by another famous priest known as Eshin. The name of the temple Eshin-in comes from his name. He was quite influential priest back then and believed to have been a model for fictional priest appeared in the Tale of Genji, a famous classic work of Japanese literature written in the early 11th century.
The main hall which enshrines Elevan Faced Kannon, the deity of mercy, is not open to the public but you can see the hall building designated as a cultural property by Kyoto prefecture, surrounded by many plants and trees.
Strolling around the garden, you’ll find a Shinto shrine inside the temple ground. It is dedicated to the guardian deity of this area. In the spring, you can enjoy the view of colorful red quince blossoms blooming in front of the guardian shrine.
I would recommend you to visit the temple in the spring so that you could see the graceful cherry blossoms of this symbolic tree. I hear the local people visit the temple garden regularly to enjoy the seasonal flowers. Walking around the garden while viewing colorful seasonal flowers, I was so relaxed and all my stress was melted away.