The temple people want to visit over and over again: Suzumushi-dera

May 17, 2019

by Natsumi Endo and Momoyo Matsuoka

Why it is called Suzumushi temple?

In this temple, people can listen to the sound of bell crickets, not only in autumn but also all the year round. So this temple is called Suzumushi-dera, but the original name is Myotokuzan Kegon-ji Temple.

Kegon-ji temple was opened by Houtanshonin to revive the Myotoku sect of Buddhism in the Edo era (1608-1868). At present, this temple belongs to the Rinzai sect.

There is Jizo Bosatsu in this temple, so lot of people come to this temple to pray for good luck, good match, success in school enrollment and so on. Jizo is one of the most popular Buddhist deities in Japan. It is said that Jizo heals people.

Suzumushi temple was built in a place that is surrounded by beautiful nature and this temple has the circuit style garden, so people can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the seasons. The garden has Japanese apricot trees and cherry blossoms in the spring, fresh green in the summer, colorful leaves in the autumn, and fantastic snow views in the winter. People can also enjoy a beautiful view of Kyoto city from this temple because it is built in beautiful nature of a mountain.

What are the charms of Suzumushi temple

When you arrive in front of the temple in the autumn season, you will see long stairs and a lot of beautiful red coral leaves. A lot of beautiful leaves on trees arch over the steps. At the top of the stairs, you pay 500 yen and you can enter. When you enter the room, you can hear the beautiful chirping of many bell crickets (in Japanese, suzumushi). It sounds like many suzumushi are saying “welcome” to you. In the autumn, there are about 3500 suzumushi in that temple. Sometimes they have more than 7000 crickets in other seasons. Inside the room, you can get blessed teachings from the chief priest. While listening to his teachings, you can relax and you will forget daily stress. He told us how to live in modern society, and about Jizo. You will see this famous jizo as soon as you go up 80 steps. In this temple, there is a Jizo which wears straw sandals at the top of stairs. The chief priest said that this Jizo can walk for each person and to grant their wish so that it wears the straw sandals. People make one wish and pray within themselves with a yellow lucky charm. The yellow charm is sold next to the main building of a temple. People can buy this for 300yen. The charm says “Kouhuku Omamori” (幸福御守) or “lucky charm.” When people pray, they place their hands together, then people have to be careful to show the kanji or Chinese characters 幸福, and they should not forget to say their address. After that, you keep the charm always with you. Moreover, if your wish will come true, you have to come this temple and tell the Jizo “thank you.” That is why this temple has a lot of repeat visitors.

From Kyoto station, you can easily get a number 28 bus bound for Arashiyama, and get off at Matsuo-taisha Shrine. Then you walk about 15 minutes to get to Suzumushi temple. A visit takes about one hour, but you can enjoy the streets of Kyoto. When you go there from Shijo-Karasuma, you can also get bus 73, which is bound for Suzumushi temple. If you have a car, you can park at parking lot with 500yen.