Zenpoji Temple

Zenpoji Temple, Tsuruoka

Zenpoji Temple
Popular mentions

30 reviews
Very good

Kobe93 contributions
Temple complex packs rare examples of fine Japanese craftsmanship
Aug 2020
The temple has a long history that dates back more than 1000 years, but the existing buildings are about 150 years old, on average. Relatively speaking, they are of recent construction, as Japanese temples go. All the more, their quality and craftsmanship are very impressive, as the attached photographs illustrate. They show its five-story pagoda, the entrance gate to the temple complex, and its two guarding statues. The temple is also famous of the statues of“500 rakans,”which are housed in a special hall in the complex.

“Rakans”are the legendary Buddhist priests who collaborated in producing important Buddhist scriptures. there exist many temples in Japan which can boast superior sculptural quality or history such statues. However, unlike those, the statues here have kept vivid color, and that definitely helps us appreciate the variety of facial features and attires, well demonstrating the diverse backgrounds and characters of those rakans.

The temple also has a “treasure hall,”in which the valuable items in its possession are assembled. Of course, the majority of these treasures are Buddhist relics and ceremonial instruments, which are perhaps of little interest to ordinary Japanese people. However, I have found two items interesting, and show their pictures. One is the painting of Wang Zhaojun by Hishida Shunso, a famous Japanese painter, and the other are“snake”stones. As one such picture shows, stone consists of two parts with distinctive colors (green and beige). The stone is then cleverly cut and polished to bring out the shape of a snake in the beige color.

Few may be acquainted with the story of Ms. Wang. She is counted among the four most beautiful ladies in Chinese history. The picture depicts the sad scene when she was sent out of the Han court to be wed to appease the king of Xingnu, the northern neighbor and the constant threat to the dynasty. She was one of many concubines for Han emperor of that time. They naturally had to compete among themselves, to be chosen by the emperor for favor. As such, all concubines bribed their respective painters, so as to have their pictures made more beautiful than their real figures. However, Ms. Wang did not agree to such practice and she did not bribe her painter. In return, the painter draw her picture to look rather ugly. The emperor, who saw the picture but not her in person, decided to send her to appease the Xingnu king. He only saw her when she had appeared in front of him to bid farewell, and recognized her beauty too late to save her. He then realized the on-going bribing practice by the court painters, and he had punished them by beheading.
Written September 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

3 contributions
A beautiful temple without the crowds
Oct 2019
This temple is vast and beautiful and had a great zen meditation session for around 8 dollars a person led by one of the monks of the temple.
Written December 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Genoa, Italy332 contributions
A pond with fish as an encore.
Jul 2017 • Couples
Having a car and the mapcodes really makes life easier when travelling Japan. We arrived at the parking lot and just followed a Japanese couple and then ended up at a beautiful pond and small shrine. Many visitors came to feed the fish and turtles. Great fun being among the local population. When we left we saw the big temple (Zenpoji) which is a good example of the splendor of Japanese temples with a pagoda and several buildings. However the somewhat secluded pond with the locals and koi were the highlights of that visit.
Written August 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tokyo17 contributions
5-story Tower - Polite and Dignified 丁寧で荘厳な五重塔
Sep 2016 • Solo
Built by respected Master Builder, Mr. Kanekichi Takahashi more than a hundred years ago. Loved its structural ridge beam. Open now for special exhibition of its hidden materials. Known as Palladium of Ocean for North Japan. Missed to visit deep forest in the backyard that has a mystical pond called Kaibami, 尊敬する棟梁、高橋兼吉氏によって100年以上前に建立。その技法に魅了された。北日本の海の守護、龍神様を祀る善寶寺は現在その特別公開されている。神社の後ろに神秘の池、貝喰の池には行く時間が無かったのが残念。
Written October 3, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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