SOTOZEN-NET > Soto Zen Temples > Touring Venerable Temples of Soto Zen Buddhism in Japan Plan > Vol.1 Head Temple Eiheiji
The Soto Zen School has two head temples. One is the Soujiji in Tsurumi, Yokohama. The other is the Eiheiji in Fukui Prefecture. In 1244, Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen, opened a temple called the Sanshoho Daibutsuji, the name of which was later changed to Kichijozan Eiheiji. This was the beginning of the Eiheiji as we know it now.
The lofty ideal on which the temple was founded is to serve as a fundamental place of Buddhist discipline according to the correctly transmitted teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.
The characters ei (eternal) and hei (peaceful) in the temple name symbolize the eternal peace and happiness Buddhism brings.
With its approximately seven and a half centuries of tradition, the Eiheiji is still the scene of devout, day-and-night discipline for more than 200 priests-in-training. Suggestive of the profundity of Zen itself, ancient cryptomeria cedars and murmuring mountain streams inspire all visitors with a sense of reverence.
Daihonzan Eiheiji was founded in 1244 CE by Dogen Zenji. Eiheiji is proud of its 750 year-old tradition where even today more than 200 monks strive at Zen practice through night and day. Eiheiji is surrounded by ancient Japanese cedars and the sounds of murmuring streams. We are pleased to present a short video, that will give you a guided tour of this ancient monastery.
The temple Eiheiji is in Eiheiji-cho, a town 10 kilometers from the city of Fukui, roughly six hours by train from Tokyo and four hours by train from Osaka. Limpid streams and the Kuzuryu-gawa river further enhance the tranquil calm of the rural setting.