August 28, 2016
by Ayano Seguchi and Emiri Masunaga
Tanden-an: unique temple in Kyoto
There are many famous temples in Kyoto because Kyoto was an old capital of Japan. Amongst those, there is an interesting and unique temple called Tanden-an. Tanden-an is located in Yawata City, in the south part of Kyoto Prefecture.
It was built in the early Edo period (from 1603 to 1868). It is a temple of the Myoshin-ji School of the Rinzai Sect, one of the five Zen sects of China (Rinzai, Igyo, Soto, Unmon and Hogen) and one of the five Zen sects of Japan (Nihon Daruma, Rinzai, Soto, Obaku and Fuke). So, this is an old temple with a long history.
Your visit to Tanden-an
When you visit Tanden-an, you can see Mido Hall as soon as you pass through the Sannmon Gate, which is the main entrance of any Buddhist temple. Daikokudo hall is an enshrinement hall of a Buddha and Daikoku is an object of worship. Daikokudo hall is made of wood and they don’t know when it was constructed. Daikoku is known as Daikokusama, the god presiding over food and wealth, and was counted one of the seven Shichifukujin.
Shichifukujin: Seven gods of Japan
Shichi means seven in English and fukujin means the god of wealth in English. Shichifukujin bring people good luck. The seven shichifukujin are Ebisu, Daikoku, Vaisravana, Benzaiten, Fukurokuju, Jurōjin, and Hotei. They are all gods of good luck. Ebisu is the god of wealth. Daikoku is the god presiding over food and wealth. Vaisravana is the guardian god of Buddhism. Benzaiten is the goddess of music, eloquence, also wealth and water. Fukurokuju is the tall-headed god of happiness, wealth, and long life. Jurōjin is the god of longevity. And Hotei is the god with a potbelly. You should visit because Daikoku brings you good luck.
Another name of Tanden-an: Rakugaki Temple
Tanden-an is also called Rakugaki Temple. This is because people who visit there write their aspirations on the white wall of the Daikokudo hall in which Daikoku is enshrined. Rakugaki means that to write letters or draw pictures freely, in other words: graffiti. Whoever visits there can write their wishes on the wall, just like writing graffiti.
There is a unique rule that you have to write your most important wish on the white wall. In addition, there is another rule that after you write your wish, you must throw 300 yen into an offertory box. Many visitors write their wishes on the entire surface of the white wall. Because of this, the white wall has become black. For this reason, the wall is restored to a white wall again on New Year’s Eve every year. The chief priest of a Buddhist temple renews it on that day because New Year’s Eve is the last day of the year.
You should visit Tanden-an and write your most important wish on the white wall. Maybe it will come true!
Hiko-jinja ShrineAfter you visit Tanden-an, we recommend that you visit Hiko-jinja Shrine, which is also located nearby in Yawata City.
In 1915, Hiko-jinja Shrine was built by Chuhachi Ninomiya, who first studied the principles of air flight in Japan. Born in 1866, Ninomiya succeeded in an early air trial with a model plane containing an engine in 1891, but he stopped developing the airplane when he found out that the Wright brothers successfully had made a two-person airplane and had flown in it. Hiko-jinja Shrine was built in dedication to both the deity, Nigihayahi, and to plane crash victims.
Nigihaya no mikoto: The main enshrined deity
The main enshrined deity in Hiko-jinja is Nigihayahi, who is also called Nigihaya no mikoto. Nigihaya no mikoto is a child of Tenjin, the god of heaven and earth. Because of Ninomiya’s death in 1935, Hiko-jinja Shrine was eliminated. This was because nobody succeeded in taking over custody of Hiko-jinja Shrine. However, Kenjiro Ninomiya, the second son of Chuhachi Ninomiya eventually rehabilitated Hiko-jinja Shrine and rebuilt the present main building to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Chuhachi’s discovery of the principles of flight.
In 1989, around the same time, a museum was built for people interested in flight principles or aircraft. A lot of materials about fighter aircraft are on display at the museum connected with the shrine. Some are model aircrafts that had been given to a Hiko-jinja Shrine as an offering, in addition to a lot of documents about fighter aircrafts and the life of Chuhachi Ninomiya.
People who visit Tanden-an should also make sure to visit Hiko-jinja Shrine because is it not so far away, especially those with an interest in aircraft or the history of flight.
Access to Tanden-an
33 Kakiuchi, Yoshino, Yawata, Yawata-shi, Kyoto, Japan
You go here on foot for ten minutes from Keihan Yawata station.
You go there by Keihan bus from Keihan Yawata station and walk for one minute.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Admission: 100 yen
Making a wish: 300 yen
See map of Tanden-an location
Access to Hiko-jinja
44 Doi, Yawata, Yawata-shi, Kyoto, Japan
You go here by Keihan train and walk for 4 minutes.
Shrine is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hiko Jinja location on Google Maps.