Senjyuin Temple is associated with the esoteric Shingon School of Buddhism and venerates the Thousand-armed Goddess of Mercy (Kannon), as its object of worship.
Although the exact date the original temple was built is unclear, it is known that the main structures of the compound were lost in a great fire in 1648 and were rebuilt in 1816. It has also been confirmed that the Senjyuin’s object of worship, the Thousand-armed Goddess of Mercy, dates to the Heian era (794-1185).
The temple is a short bus or taxi ride from Matsue Station and offers a pleasant atmosphere in which to experience its historic religious structures.
Hon-do (the main hall) is the focal point of the temple and is where the rare and ancient Senju Kannon Bodhisattva statue (Thousand-armed Goddess of Mercy) is kept.
Fudou-do (Fudou Hall) is where a 10thcentury Heian era statue of the god of protection (Fudou-Myou) is displayed. On New Year’s Day and the 28th of every month, there is a prayer service held here that is open to the public.
Okura-ji was once a small temple located in Nishimochida-cho, Matsue City, which is an area north of Senjyuin Temple. This structure was relocated to its current location.
Seishin Tei is a building that provides both a resting place and a spectacular view of the entire city of Matsue.
Eitaikuyo-to is a serene statue of a seated bodhisattva that is dedicated to those who remain unwed or have no children.
Shin-Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage is a mini version of the world famous religious trek in Shikoku that you can do in 30 minutes. This tree-covered area is a cool and relaxing place to be in the summer.
Another good summer spot is the temple’s bamboo forest. Walk through the stunning green trees in this magical place that is not far from the 88Temple Pilgrimage re-creation.
Senjyuin is well-known for an over 200 year old “weeping cherry tree”, which is called so because when it blooms from late March to early April, its pink blossom-covered branches dangle over the supporting trellis. A beautiful sight during the day, the lighting of the tree at night is equally impressive.
The weeping cherry tree is located at a point that is somewhat off-center of the temple’s oval -shaped grounds. It is not the only cherry on offer at the temple. In fact, there are several others along the perimeter of the compound. The weeping cherry is however, the oldest and the only one with hanging branches.
If you would like an activity to join while you enjoy the flowering trees, the temple holds Japanese tea ceremony events during the cherry blossom season and visitors are encouraged to participate.
From the mountaintop temple, you can see Matsue Castle not too far off in the distance as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. This is a useful vantage point for deciding the next area to explore. Instead of taking a bus or taxi if you are headed back towards Matsue Station, walk through the Shiomi Nawate historic zone and Katahori-cho.
Senjyuin Temple is a compact world full of history and culture in a picturesque corner of Matsue City. Come and see for yourself!
Access: Take the Super Yakumo Express train from JR Okayama Station to JR Matsue Station. Senjyuin Temple is about a 10 minute taxi ride from Matsue Station. Alternatively, take the Lakeline Sightseeing Loop Bus from Matsue Station to the Shiomi Nawate stop. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Shiomi Nawate to Senjyuin Temple.
About the Area
Matsue is the vibrant capital city of Shimane Prefecture that has been shaped by its feudal heritage as a castle town and its unique location on Lake Shinji, Lake Nakaumi and the Japan Sea. The city center is dominated by the presence of Matsue Castle and its surrounding canals. This area is also a cultural zone as it is home to museums and historic quarters. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the city is from the water and there are several cruise companies that make this possible.
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