Senbon Enma-do

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Enma, King of Hell.
  • Established: 1017
  • Other Names: 光明山歓喜院引接寺 (koumyouzan kankiin injouji)
  • Japanese: 千本閻魔堂 (senbon enma-dou)

Senbon Enma-dô is a Buddhist temple and prominent pilgrimage site in northern-central Kyoto dedicated to Enma (aka Yama), the King of Hell. The site is named Senbon after the thousand cherry trees, or thousand memorial tablets, that once stood here; Senbon-dôri, a major avenue running north-south past the temple, also takes its name from this.

The temple was officially founded in 1017 on a site prepared by Ono no Takamura (802-853).

Every May, the Enma-dô is home to the Senbon Enma-dô Dainenbutsu Kyôgen, the only spoken-word drama of the three great Buddhist invocation dramas of Kyoto, and an Intangible Cultural Folk Heritage, as designated by the city.

A small stone tower dedicated to Murasaki Shikibu and erected in 1386 has been designated a national cultural asset. En'a Shônin, who erected it, did so in order to elevate or restore Murasaki's reputation, which he felt had recently fallen.


  • Plaques on-site.

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