Reestablished in 1648, Kōshō-ji Temple, with its white Chinese-style gate, reflects the solemn atmosphere of the Zen sect. The slope between the riverside and the temple is called Kotozaka, one of the 12 Beauty Spots of Uji. Here you can enjoy the tinted autumnal leaves.
In 1233, after his return from his study mission to China, Dōgen Zenji founded the Kōshō-ji Temple, the first Sōtō temple in Fushimi Fukakusa, just south of the ancient capital Kyoto. During medieval warring, fire destroyed the compound and many priceless scriptures. In 1648, the daimyo of Yodo, Nagai Naomasa rebuilt it at Uji, its present location. The main worship hall is traditionally said to have been made from parts of Fushimi castle.
After Dōgen Zenji’s death, the Kōshō-ji Temple ceased to exist. But the abbot Banan Eishu revived it to serve as a centre for the severe and simple style of Zen inherited from Dōgen Zenji. During the Edo period (1603-1867), novices from all over Japan came to train at the Koshoji, which, together with the Eiheiji and the Sojiji, cultivated many outstanding monks.
As well as a place of great scenic beauty, Uji, where the Kōshō-ji Temple is located, is famous for its green tea. Immediately inside the temple gate, a slope-called Kotozaka, because of its resemblance to the Japanese koto harp-leads gently upward through murmuring streams. Rich stands of favourite Japanese pine, peach, plum, willow, cherry, and maple-enhance the loveliness of the grounds.
Dōgen Zenji was a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher born in Kyōto. He founded the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan after travelling to China and training under Rujing, a master of the Chinese Caodong lineage.
Nagai Naomasa was a Japanese daimyo of the Edo period, who ruled the Uruido, Koga and Yodo Domains. The eldest son of Nagai Naokatsu, he fought at the Battle of Sekigahara and the Siege of Osaka.
Gyoban is a wooden fish-shaped drum, which serves as a signal to start and end rituals, meditation sessions and meals. The fish-shaped drums are common in Zen temples in Japan. Gyoban is also called Gyoko, Mokugyoku, or Ho. In Buddhism, the fish, which never sleeps, symbolises wakefulness and devotion to training.