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Sennyū-ji (泉涌寺, Sennyū-ji), formerly written as Sen-yū-ji[1] (仙遊寺, Sen'yū-ji) , is a Buddhist temple in Higashiyama-ku in Kyoto, Japan.[2] For centuries, Sennyū-ji was a mortuary temple for aristocrats and the imperial house. Located here are the official tombs of Emperor Shijō[3] and many of the emperors who came after him.[1]



Sennyū-ji was founded in the early Heian period.[1] The origin of this temple, which is commonly called Mitera or Mi-dera, can be traced back to the Tenchō era (824-834) when the priest Kūkai established a small temple in this location. That modest structure and community were initially known as Hōrin-ji[disambiguation needed].[2] The major buildings in Sennyū-ji was very much reconstructed and enlarged in the early 13th century.[2]

Tsukinowa no misasagi
Gozasho Garden

Tsukinowa no misasagi
Emperor Go-Horikawa and Emperor Shijō were the first to be enshrined in an Imperial mausoleum at Sennyū-ji. It was called Tsukinowa no misasagi.[4]

Go-Momozono is also enshrined in Tsukinowa no misasagi along with his immediate Imperial predecessors since Emperor Go-Mizunoo -- Meishō, Go-Kōmyō, Go-Sai, Reigen, Higashiyama, Nakamikado, Sakuramachi, Momozono and Go-Sakuramachi.[5]

Nochi no Tsukinowa no Higashiyama no misasagi
Kokaku, Ninko, and Komei are also enshrined at Nochi no Tsukinowa no Higashiyama no misasagi (後月輪東山陵).[6]


Sennyū-ji's large nehan-zu painting depicts Buddha on his death bed. This massive image (8 meters x 16 meters) is the largest in Japan. The image at nearby Tōfuku-ji is the second largest of its kind in Japan, measuring 7 meters x 14 meters. Both images are only rarely displayed, most recently in 2003 for three days only.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, p. 113.
  2. ^ a b c Sennyu-ji
  3. ^ Pononsby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 422.
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Imperial House, p. 422; Sennyū-ji: Imperial mausoleum enclosure.
  5. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 423.
  6. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Imperial House, p. 423; Sennyū-ji: Imperial mausoleum enclosure.
  7. ^ "Kansai: Who -- What: Giant Buddhas shown for three days only," Japan Times Online. March 9, 2003.


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