Definitions

Caisléan an tSiáin

An'yō-in

is a Jōdō Buddhist temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. Famous for its azaleas, it was named after its founder's (great historical figure Hōjō Masako) posthumous name. The main object of worship is Amida Nyōrai, but it also enshrines Senju Kannon, Goddess of Mercy. An’yō-in is Number three of the 33 temples of the Bandō Sanjūsankasho pilgrimage circuit.

History

This temple has a complex history and is the result of the fusion of three separate temples called Chōraku-ji, Zendō-ji and Tashiro-ji. It was first opened in 1225 as Chōraku-ji in Hase Sasamegayatsu by Hōjō Masako for her defunct husband Minamoto no Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura shogunate. At the time it was a Ritsu sect temple. After being burned to the ground by Nitta Yoshisada's soldiery in 1333 at the fall of the Kamakura shogunate, it was fused with Zendō-ji, moved to this spot and renamed, but it burned again in 1680. It was then once more rebuilt and a Senju Kannon (Thousand-armed Goddess of Mercy) was transferred to it from Tashiro-ji in Hikigayatsu.

Points of interest

The great Chinese black pine in the garden is over 700 years old. Behind the temple there are a hōkyō-intō which is one of Masako's possible graves, and another hōkyō-intō, the oldest in Kamakura, which is an Important Cultural Property. In its small cemetery (closed to the public) rests famous film director Akira Kurosawa.

Notes

References

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