15-778 Honmachi, Kyoto, Japan
Tofuku-ji's San-mon Kyoto Reviews
The oldest Zen gate of its kind Dec 04, 2013
The Tofuku-ji's San-mon (main gate) is located at the foot of Mt Enichi, one of the thirty six peaks of the Higashiyama Mountains. The name is short for Sangedatsumon, which means an enlightenment gate to Nirvana.
Since its establishment the Temple was hit by fires three times in the 14th century and the San-mon gate burned down. The present gate was rebuilt in 1425. There is a nice stone bridge over a pond filled with lotus flowers in front of it.
The San-mon is the largest and oldest Zen temple gate in Japan. The gate is 22 meters tall and has three entrances, two floors, double door construction with a gable and hipped roof covered with ceramic tiles. The square pillars on the four corners of the roof where supplemented when Toyotomi Hideyoshi made large repairs to the gate in 1595 after it was damaged by a great earthquake. Inside there are statues and colourful pictures on both ceiling and pillars. The gate is closed and can therefore not be visited. You have to admire it from the outside.
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