Daihonzan Eiheiji

Daihonzan Eiheiji: A Historical Zen Monastery in Fukui Prefecture


Daihonzan Eiheiji is a renowned Zen monastery located deep in the mountains of Fukui Prefecture, japan. Founded by Zen Master Dogen in 1244, it has been a center for Soto Zen Buddhism for centuries. With its serene surroundings and dedicated monks, Daihonzan Eiheiji offers a unique opportunity for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and attractions of this remarkable temple.

History of Daihonzan Eiheiji

Daihonzan Eiheiji has a rich and illustrious history that dates back to its founding in the 13th century. Zen Master Dogen, the founder of the Soto Zen school, established the monastery with the intention of providing a place for monks to practice Zen meditation in a rigorous and disciplined manner.

Dogen’s teachings and practices emphasized the importance of meditation as a means to attain enlightenment. He believed that true awakening could only be achieved through direct experience and not by relying solely on intellectual understanding. With this philosophy in mind, he created a training center at Eiheiji where monks could dedicate themselves to the practice of Zen.

Over the centuries, Daihonzan Eiheiji has remained true to its founding principles. It has continued to be a place of intense training and spiritual growth for monks who seek to deepen their understanding of Zen and attain enlightenment.

The Significance of Daihonzan Eiheiji

Daihonzan Eiheiji holds immense significance within the realm of Soto Zen Buddhism. It is considered one of the two head temples of the Soto Zen school, along with Sojiji in Yokohama. Together, these two temples serve as the spiritual centers for practitioners of Soto Zen.

The monastery’s remote location in the mountains is intentional, as it provides a tranquil setting conducive to deep meditation and self-reflection. The natural surroundings, with their lush forests and flowing streams, contribute to the serene atmosphere that permeates the temple grounds.

The daily routine at Daihonzan Eiheiji is centered around zazen, or seated meditation. Monks engage in long hours of meditation, accompanied by walking meditation and other Zen rituals. This rigorous practice is designed to cultivate mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

Apart from meditation, Daihonzan Eiheiji also places emphasis on other aspects of Zen practice, such as sutra chanting, temple maintenance, and community service. The monks engage in these activities with a sense of mindfulness and devotion, considering them integral parts of their spiritual training.

Attractions at Daihonzan Eiheiji

Visitors to Daihonzan Eiheiji can immerse themselves in the serene and contemplative atmosphere of the temple. The architecture of the monastery reflects the traditional Japanese style, with its wooden structures, sliding doors, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

One of the main attractions at Daihonzan Eiheiji is the main meditation hall, known as the hondo. This hall is the center of the temple’s activities and serves as a place for group meditation sessions. The hondo is a spacious and peaceful space, adorned with intricate woodwork and traditional Buddhist art.

Another notable feature of Daihonzan Eiheiji is the library, which houses a vast collection of Buddhist scriptures and texts. The library is a valuable resource for both the monks and visitors who wish to deepen their understanding of Zen philosophy and teachings.

The temple grounds also include various other buildings, such as the dormitories for the monks, the dining hall, and the bathhouse. These buildings are designed to provide the necessary facilities for the monks’ daily life while maintaining a simple and austere aesthetic.

In addition to the architectural wonders, Daihonzan Eiheiji is surrounded by picturesque nature. The temple is nestled amidst dense forests, with hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can take leisurely walks and enjoy the tranquility of the natural surroundings.

Visiting Daihonzan Eiheiji

For those interested in experiencing the spiritual atmosphere of Daihonzan Eiheiji, the temple welcomes visitors from all over the world. However, it is important to note that the temple has certain rules and guidelines that visitors must adhere to.

When visiting Daihonzan Eiheiji, it is recommended to dress modestly and respectfully, as it is a place of worship. Visitors should also maintain a quiet and contemplative demeanor, in order to respect the monks’ dedication to their practice.

It is advisable to check the temple’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information regarding visiting hours and any restrictions or guidelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Daihonzan Eiheiji stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Its rich history, serene surroundings, and dedicated monks make it a truly remarkable place for spiritual seekers. Whether you are a devoted practitioner of Zen or simply curious about the teachings of Buddhism, a visit to Daihonzan Eiheiji is sure to leave a lasting impression and provide a deeper understanding of this ancient tradition.

For more information about Daihonzan Eiheiji, including visiting hours and contact information, please visit their official website: https://daihonzan-eiheiji.com/en/.

Address And Maps Location:

5-15 Shihi, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui-ken

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