Seven monasteries with vast precincts. Buddhist monks adhere to ancient rules and practice rigorous discipline even today.
Eihei-ji Temple, located 16 kilometers to the southeast of Fukui City at the center of the prefecture, is the headquarters of the Soto sect of Buddhism, with 15,000 branch temples nationwide. It was originally built by the Buddhist monk Dogen in the 13th century.
In the vast precincts, with an area of some 330,000 square meters, there are seven monastery buildings. These monasteries are surrounded by over 70 Do-u halls connected by corridors. Even today, some 200 ascetic disciples and itinerant priests devote themselves in strict ascetic practice there. There is a disciplinary hall where members of the general public may practice Zen meditation, and they are also allowed to stay at this hall and experience some of the ascetic disciplines of the monks.
The temple houses Fukan-zazen-gi, an instruction book on zazen (seated religious meditation as practiced by the Zen sect) written in 1233 by the priest Dogen on his return from China. This book has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. Other Important Cultural Properties here include the Dogen Zenji Shisho, a certification conferred by a master on his disciple (in this case, by the Zen priest Tendo-Nyojo on Dogen, acknowledging his study of Buddhist teachings in China).
Address: 5-15 Shihi, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui
Admission Fee: 500 yen (regular fee)
From Tokyo:[Rail]2h 20 min to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 1h 5 min from Maibara to Fukui Station by JR Hokuriku Line. 25 min from Fukui to Eihei-ji-guchi Station by Echizen Katsuyama-Eiheiji Line, and 10 min from the station to Eihei-ji by Keifuku Bus.
From Osaka:[Rail]1h 50 min to Fukui Station by JR Hokuriku Line.