Zuihō-in is a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji founded by Lord Sorin Ohtomo in 1546 as the family temple. The main hall and gate are original structures.
Although Ohotomo was inspired by the teachings of Zen Buddhism by Tetsushu, the 91st patriarch of Daitoku-ji, he was baptized by a Jesuit Father as a Christian at the age of 48 and christened “Francisco”. In homage to his religion, a statue of the Virgin Mary was added when the current gardens were built by Mirei Shigemori in 1961.
The Zuihō-te (Dokuza-tei) means Garden of the Blissful Mountain. It is symbolic of Mount Horai (Island of the Immortals) and the peninsula of stone extending into the raked sand transfers the feeling of a strong island standing amidst rough seas.
The Kanmin-tei “Garden of the Cross” is dedicated to Ohtomo, who along with his wife, is buried here. Viewed from the south-eastern corner, the hill stones are arranged to form a cross. Similar to the Krishitan lantern with its buried figure of Virgin Mary, this hidden cross may be a secret Christian way to honor the souls of the dead.
From Kyoto Station, take Karasuma Line to Kitaoji Station. It is 5 minutes by taxi or 15 minute walk.