Ruiyanji Temple, formerly known as Matsushima Temple, is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple located in Matsushima Town, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, and is known as Matsushima Aoyama Ruiyan Madoka Zen Temple. The entire temple is built in the architectural style of the Azuchi-Momoyama period, and is known as the first and most famous temple in northeastern Japan.
The former Enfuku Temple was founded in 828 by the master of Cigaku, Ennin, and the present building was built by Date Masamune, the lord of Sendai, in 1609, and was renamed Shweiganji after its completion. The temple is decorated with a large and solemn garan, and the Tang-style paneled gates and railings, the partitions and niches are beautifully painted and carved, and the Tang-style building “Gosei-mon” attached to the main hall, the trailing vine pattern, the flower-shaped elbow wood, and the beautifully carved kuin corridor have all been designated as national treasures.
There are many tall cedar trees inside the temple, which give the whole temple a quiet and solemn atmosphere, making it a place where people can get away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
How to get there
(1) 5 minutes on foot from Matsushima-kaigan Station on the Senseki Line.
(2) 15 minutes by car from Matsushima-kaigan IC on Sanriku Expressway.
There are many historical buildings in Matsushima, including the national treasure Zuiganji Temple and the important cultural property Entsuji Temple. Zuiganji Temple is probably best known for its gorgeous paintings on gold screens. The actual paintings are very powerful.
The paintings, each with a different style, are best seen in person. Photography is not allowed in this area, so be sure to burn it into your eyes. It is said to have been brought back by Date Masamune on his return from the Korean invasion. It is said to be called ‘Garyu Ume’ because it looks like a dragon climbing up.
This was in bloom this time in a very good condition. I think it was worth coming just to be able to photograph it.