A family temple of a Warring States Era general
Erin-ji Temple which is located in Kofu City was established in 1330, and it is known for the fact that Shingen Takeda personally established the temple as part of his domain. On the temple grounds, there are numerous highlights among the nationally-designated Important Cultural Properties beginning with the Sanmon gate, and then there are the Cultural Properties recognized by Yamanashi Prefecture such as a yotsuashi-mon (a gate with 4 supporting pillars) and the wooden statue of Buddhist priest Muso-Kokushi, followed by the grave of Shingen Takeda which is a prefectural Historic Site. Just beyond the Main Hall, there is the uguisu-roka (the nightingale hallway) which makes a creaking sound when you walk on it. On weekends, seminars in zazen are held which do not require reservations.
A garden with attractive scenes throughout the four seasons
At the back of the Main Hall, there is a garden which has been recognized as a Place of Scenic Beauty. The garden was designed by Muso-Kokushi at the tender age of 9 just when he entered the priesthood, and from his lifetime to immediately after his passing, he rose through 7 levels to attain the highest rank of “kokushi” (national Zen teacher). Muso-Kokushi is famous for having designed the symbolic landscape garden at Erin-ji as well as founding Kyoto’s Tenryu-ji and Saiho-ji Temples. The garden with a history approaching 700 years is appealing for its attractiveness throughout all of the four seasons with cherry blossoms, autumn leaves and a pond at its center. The view of the garden as seen from the Main Hall has a beauty that seems like a painting.
The Shingen Takeda Homotsu-den
Within the temple grounds is the Shingen Takeda Homotsu-den which is the first historical museum to be opened in Yamanashi Prefecture. Inside this repository, Takeda’s heirlooms starting with his swords, armor and historical information are included in the 400 items on display. There are brilliant dolls also on display on the 2nd floor, and from late January to late April each year, there is the Enzan Togenkyo Doll Festival and Momo-no-Hana Festival in which an array of hina dolls ranging from the Edo Era to the current day is exhibited.