Nestling a thick mountainside forest with Buddhist monks silently passing by, Eiheiji Temple is a quintessential Japanese experience. The sense of calm, the stunning beauty, the confusion about exactly when to wear shoes, slippers or just socks: it’s all here.
The history of Eiheiji dates back to 1244, founded by a Buddhist monk called Dogen Zenji who was responsible for bringing Soto Zen Buddhism to Japan from China. The current complex of over 70 buildings ranges in age from 1749 (the Sanmon, or main gate) to a very modern building (Kichijokaku) for visitors and administration. The buildings—all connected by covered walkways—seem to pop up naturally among the trees, as though they’d grown rather than been built.
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