White Elephant on Cedar Door at Shokokuji Temple

January 27, 2018

Founded by Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (足利義満), Shokokuji Temple (相国寺) is the largest Zen (禅) temple in Kyoto. It's close to Gosho palace (京都御所, Kyoto Imperial Garden) and its premises is rich in nature. 

In a chamber of this temple, there is the famous cedar door painting of magnificent white elephant, created by Hara Zaicyu (原在中), a painter in the Edo (江戸) era. Although there must not have been any elephant in Japan at that time, the painting is very real as if the painter had actually seen it.

I spent a good time in the temple, watching the beautiful garden made of white sand, and the white elephant cedar door painting.



Akane Kibune

Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade








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11 mins. on foot from Imadegawa, Subway Karasuma line

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