Sennyu-ji Temple, Kyoto

Founded in 1218 by the monk Shunjo, Sennyu-ji was for centuries a mortuary temple for aristocrats and the imperial house.

Sennyuji temple

Butsuden at Sennyuji Temple.

Sennyuji Temple Shariden

Shariden at Sennyuji Temple.

The tombs of Emperor Komei and Emperor Go-Horikawa are located here.

Sennyuji Temple Mausoleum

Sennyuji Temple's imperial mausoleum.

The temple takes its name from a spring nearby what is thought to be a ninth-century hermitage of Kukai, founder of the Shingon sect. Sokujoin, one of Sennyuji's subtemples, is dedicated to the worship of Amida. Its main hall contains late Heian-period carvings of Amida surrounded by 25 attendant bodhisattvas.

Sennyuji Temple Triad

Shaka flanked by Amida and Miroku in the Butsuden of Sennyuji Temple.

Just inside the temple's main gate is a small Kannon-do containing a figure of Yang Kwei-fei as a manifestation of Kannon. Mentioned several times in The Tale of Genji, the Yang Kwei-fei affair refers to a T'ang Dynasty romance between China's Emperor Hsuan Tsung and his favourite consort.

It is said that when Yang Kwei-fei died, the emperor missed her so much that he had her sculpture made in the image of Avalokitesvara (Kannon), which was brought to Sennyu-ji Temple in Kyoto by the priest Tankai in 1255. The image is known as the Yokihi Kannon or Empress Yang-Avalokitesvara.

Sennyuji Temple Yokihi Kannondo

Yokihi Kannon-do in the grounds of Sennyuji Temple.