Entsu-zan, the mountain name prefixed to Saiken-ji Temple, is taken from kannon Bodhisattva who is believed to be the saint of "jikon-entsu", meaning deliverance of the soul. The temple name Saiken-ji means continuously looking to the west, where Buddha's birthplace, India and the Western Paradise are said to be located.
This temple was originally founded as Manmoku-san Saiken-ji Temple in Terashima Village, Shikichi-gun in Enshu (present Shizuoka) in 1480. Later the mountain name was changed to Heikyo-san and the temple was located in Hirata, Hamamatsu-juku (present Hirata-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu City). In the spring of 1989 it was moved to the place where Entsu-san Kagaku-in used to be in Nishikamoe Village (present Nishikamoe-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu City). Then it was renamed and renewed as Entsu-san Saiken-ji Temple.
Zen Meditation Hall
There are a total of 40 inner and outer meditation halls. In the center is an image of a Bodhisattva in the form of a Buddhist monk. Every Sunday we have a Zen meditation meeting where anyone is welcome. At the beginning of December an intensive Zen meditation training, called "Rouhatsu-sesshin," is held.
Ryukyu-zuka (Ryuku Mound)
In 1850, when a Ryukyuan mission was on the way to Edo (present Tokyo) to present gifts to Tokugawa Shogun, the prince Gishi died at Hamamatsu-juku. He was buried at Saiken-ji Temple and the mound is still worshiped as Ryukyu Mound. Many people come from Okinawa to visit it.
Eidai Kuyo-to (Permanent Memorial Tower)
In 2002, a thirteen-storied permanent memorial tower was built at the entrance of the cemetery for the supporters of the temple who cannot build their own tombs. In 2010, a permanent memorial hall was built to perform services for the ancestral souls. Please contact Saiken-ji Temple for further information.
"Okon-gitsune of Saiken-ji Temple"
This is an old tale in the Edo Period. Kikuzo, a fisherman, who had just laid in fish came to Naruko, when it began to rain suddenly. It was already dark and before Kikuzo with a troubled look, a young woman in dark-blue kimono with white splash patterns was walking under an umbrella. He hoped to get under that umbrella and hurried, but he couldn't catch up with her by any means. He began to run, then she also did so. As he talked to her, she turned her face away. Feeling vexed, he kept on walking and came to the area near Saiken-ji Temple. Then he was astounded to see her raise the umbrella and turn around. Her face was smooth and flat with only one eye! Kikuzo ran away for his dear life. It was a fox living in the bamboo grove of Saiken-ji Temple disguised as a young woman! In that area the fox was well known as "Okongitsune," because it disguised itself as a young woman in dark-blue kimono. ("kon" means "dark blue" and gitsune (the same as kitsune) means "fox". The first "O" is a prefix attached to make it sound more familiar.)