All buddhas are wind and rain, water and fire.

Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. It was founded by Eisai (1141-1214), a monk who traveled to China to study and brought the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism back with him to Japan.

As is the case with other Zen complexes in the city, the style of architecture is Chinese. The central buildings are aligned on a north-south axis, the interiors have slate floors instead of tatami, and latticework doors and window shutters that swing up to open in stead of sliding. The sub-temples located along the perimeter of the grounds are Japanese in style.

The twin dragons by Koizumi Junsaku were commissioned to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the founding of Kennin-ji. It took him just under two years to complete in the gymnasium of an elementary school in Hokkaido.

Kennin-ji feels like a separate world. Though once one of the most important religious compounds in the country, today it feels very welcoming. I thoroughly enjoyed spending times here observing the various ways in which people used the various spaces.  In awe, I watched as one small woman labored for hours removing weeds from a very minute area in one of the gardens.