Eiheiji is an active monastery located in a mountain slope outside Fukui City. The temple, founded in 1244 by a Buddhist scholar Dogen, consists of 70 buildings and structures. It is one of the two head temples of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism.
It is perfect to visit during the fall season where it shows its autumn foliage, and the walkways connecting the structures are covered with red, fiery maple leaves.
Note that the pilgrims and visitors get a short orientation through the reception hall called Kichijokaku in Japanese before exploring the temple. There are also pamphlets to guide the foreigners on the temple buildings in detail.
The historically significant structures in the vast temple grounds of Eikeiji includes Sanmon Gate, the oldest among all structures, Buddha Hall (Butsuden) in the center, enshrined with the past, present and future Buddha; the main lecture hall (Hatto), and the founder's hall (Joyoden), which houses the ashes of Dogen and displays the head monks of Eiheiji.
The most common route to the temple is via hourly buses from Fukui Station (East Exit, 720 yen).
Alternatively, you can transfer from Fukui Station to Eiheiji-guchi Station via Echizen Railway, where you can ride a bust to the temple. It is also the ideal route when you plan to visit Fukui Dinosaur Museum.
The temple is open all throughout the year, operating from 4:00 to 5:00 pm (5:30 to 4:30 during winter season). Entry costs 500 yen.
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