Hattō (法堂, main hall)
|Denomination||Zen, Rinzai sect, Kennin-ji school|
|Venerated||Shaka Nyorai (Śākyamuni)|
|Founder(s)||Minamoto no Yoriie|
|Address||584 Komatsu-chō, Higashiyama-ku,
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Kennin-ji (建仁寺), is a historic Zen Buddhist temple in Higashiyama, Kyoto, Japan, near Gion, at the end of Hanami Lane. It is considered to be one of the so-called Kyoto Gozan or "five most important Zen temples of Kyoto".
Kennin-ji was founded in 1202 CE and claims to be the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.
The monk Eisai, credited with introducing Zen to Japan, served as Kennin-ji's founding abbot and is buried on the temple grounds. For its first years the temple combined Zen, Tendai, and Shingon practices, but it became a purely Zen institution under the eleventh abbot, Lanxi Daolong (蘭渓道隆 Rankei Dōryū ) (1213–1278).
When first built, the temple contained seven principal buildings. It has suffered from fires through the centuries, and was rebuilt in the mid-thirteenth century by Zen master Enni, and again in the sixteenth century with donations of buildings from nearby temples Ankoku-ji and Tōfuku-ji.
Today Kennin-ji's buildings include the Abbot's Quarters (Hōjō), given by Ankoku-ji in 1599; the Dharma Hall (Hatto), built in 1765; a tea house built in 1587 to designs by tea master Sen no Rikyū for Toyotomi Hideyoshi; and the Imperial Messenger Gate (Chokushimon), said to date from the Kamakura period, and still showing marks from arrows. It also has 14 subtemples on the Kennin-ji precincts and about 70 associated temples throughout Japan.
In 2002, the architectural setting was enhanced by a dramatic ceiling painting of two dragons by Koizumi Junsaku. This bold artwork was installed to commemorate the temple's 800th anniversary.
Kennin-ji contains notable paintings by Tamura Sōryū and Hashimoto Kansetsu. Fujin and Raijin, a pair of two-fold screens by Tawaraya Sōtatsu, currently on display at the Kyoto National Museum.
- List of Buddhist temples in Kyoto
- List of National Treasures of Japan (paintings)
- For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, and Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism.
- Baroni, Helen Josephine. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism. New York: Rosen Publishing Group. 10-ISBN 0-8239-2240-5; 13-ISBN 978-0-8239-2240-6; OCLC 42680558
- Dumoulin, Heinrich. (2005). Zen Buddhism: A History (Vol. II: Japan). Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom. 10-ISBN 0-941532-90-9; 13-ISBN 978-0-941532-90-7
- Kennin-ji: The Oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto, undated brochure from temple
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869. Kyoto: The Ponsonby Memorial Society.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kenninji.|
- Kennin-ji official web site; (Japanese)  (English)
- Kyoto Prefectural Tourism Guide: Kennin-ji
- Joint Council for Japanese Rinzai and Obaku Zen: Kennin-ji
- Buddhist Travel: Kennin-ji
- The Buddhist Channel, "Kenninji key to Japan's tea culture