Jakko-in Nunnery

First day of spring–
I keep thinking about
the end of autumn.


Jakko-in (Solitary Light) Nunnery is located in the Ohara area.

This Tendai Buddhist sect is said to possibly have been created by Prince Shotoku in 594 and dedicated to his father, Emperor Yomei, the first emperor to become a Buddhist.

The real importance of the temple is connected with the tragedy of the Taira-Minamoto feud that ended in the sea battle off Dan-no-ura near Shiminseki in 1185, in which the Taira were defeated. When it became obvious that the battle had been lost, the widow of Kiyomaro, the Taira leader, leaped into the sea with her 7-yearold grandson, Emperor Antoku, in her arms, preferring death for both of them over capture by the Minamoto. Her daughter, Tohoku-no-Taira (know as the Empress Kenrei-mon-in, the consort and widow of the Emperor Takakura), also preferring death to capture, jumped into the sea but was dragged by her hair back to safety by the Minamoto forces.  

Alone and abandoned, as the sole survivor of the Taira, she took the tonsure at the Chorakuji Temple in Kyoto and became a nun at 29. Destitute and forlorn, she finally found refuge in the Jakko-in, in then faraway Ohara. She lived there for some 30 years, praying before an image of Jizo in the temple for the souls of her family and for her son. She is buried on the hillside to the east of the temple.

On the hill below there is a tea house commissioned in 1929 by the Emperor Hirohito.