Influence of the Ming Dynasty of China
Chinese priest Yinyuan Longqi (known as Ryuki Ingen in Japanese) first responded to an invitation from Japan, and in 1654, at the age of 63, the priest was accompanied by 30 disciples and arrived in the country. After that, in 1661 Manpuku-ji Temple was opened with the cooperation of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The architecture and the culture were all of Ming Dynasty, and the totality of Edo Era culture was influenced.
Places to see on the Ming-style grounds
Passing through the Chinese-style main gate, there is the sanmon gate on which a framed picture of Ingen’s book “Manpuku-ji” is decorated. Within Tenno-den Hall which is generally seen as an entrance hall when it comes to Chinese temples, the statue of Hotei-son is enshrined. Hotei-son was a monk who actually existed in China, a small and pot-bellied figure who was precognitive and whose predictions always came true. He was seen as the incarnation of the future Buddha Maitreya and worshipped as the god of wealth and happiness and as one of the Seven Gods of Good Luck. At the back of the statue of Hotei-son, the statue of Skanda, a protective god, is enshrined, which faces the Shaka Nyorai Buddha in the main hall, Daiou Houden. In the Sai-do dining hall where the monks ate, the temple drum was beaten when it was time to eat to alert the monks, and that fish-shaped drum, Kaiban, which is said to be the archetype for mokugyo drums, is suspended from a beam. As you go through all of the buildings, you can an absolutely different feeling from that of Japanese temples.
Chinese-style vegetarian cuisine passed down by Ingen
At Manpuku-ji Temple, the vegetarian “fucha” cuisine that Ingen introduced from China that has no meat or fish is famous and differs from Japanese vegetarian cuisine. It is fare that is served gorgeously on large platters to be shared, and is made through the use of Chinese cooking techniques using sesame oil to create items such as sautéed and deep-fried dishes.