Genko-an Temple poses a riddle in wood. What is the difference between our ordinary way of looking at the world and the way of one who is enlightened? The answer is expressed in the form of two windows looking out over the temple's garden: one is square and is called "The Window of Confusion" while the other is round and is called "The Window of Enlightenment." Both look out over the same garden, yet the effect of looking through each window is quite different.
Genko-an Temple was originally constructed as a hermitage by the head priest of Daitoku-ji Temple, but was in time turned into a temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. It contains some excellent statues of the historical Buddha and of Kannon Bodhisattva. It is also known for its "bloody ceiling," which was made using floorboards from the disassembled Fushimi Castle where soldiers loyal to Tokugawa Ieyasu(1543-1598), the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, were defeated and killed themselves. There are reportedly still bloodstained palm prints to be seen on the rafters. Buddhas or bloodshed? Enlightenment or confusion? Genko-an Temple seems to reconcile opposites and to stand as a question mark to all who come to visit.
* Address: 47 Kita-Takagamine-cho Takagamine Kita-ku, Kyoto
* Tel.: 075-492-1858
* Access: 1-minute walk from City Bus Stop Takagamine Genko-an-mae
* Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
* Entrance Fee: Adults (400 yen) / Children (200 yen)
* Parking: 20 cars