Kohoin Temple, located in Nakano Ward,Tokyo was built on the site of the former residence of Tesshu Yamaoka, a shogunate vassal at the end of the Edo period. The Zen dojo offers a place to practice zazen for working people who live busy city lives.
The main temple, Kohoin of Chinku Mountain is a Zen temple founded by Tesshu Yamaoka and opened by the Great Monk Seisetsu Seki, the head priest of the Tenryuji School. It was built in 1943 on the site of Tesshu Yamaoka's residence in Nakano, Tokyo. The name "Koho-in" comes from Tesshu's real name, "Takayuki (Koho)".
This is the site where Tesshu Yamaoka used to hold frequent meetings with Saigo Nanshu, Katsu Kaishu, and others to discuss national affairs. After Tesshu moved to Yotsuya in the Meiji era (1868-1912), the villa was presented to the Fushimi princely household. The Emperor Taisho visited the site several times during his childhood.
In 1942, an old man in Osaka who had acquired this land learned of the legend and donated a corner of the central area surrounding the pond to Zen Master Seisetsu Seki, then president of the Tenryuji School of Buddhism.
When the second abbot, the late Master Omori Sogen the Elder, was assigned to the temple in 1947, the site had been reduced in size due to air raids and postwar conflicts. There was only a shoin, a small building that remained undamaged.
With the legacy of Tesshu and the Zen style of the Great Monk Seisetsu Seki, Master Omori had a strong belief that nothing else was needed to make the temple a place of peace and Zen. With this, Tesshu Zen-kai was established as an institute for Zen Buddhism. It widely promotes kendo, Zen, and calligraphy. Since its establishment, Kohoin has been making efforts to promote the spread of Zen for laypeople.
This dojo is not a so-called "specialized dojo" where ordained monks practitioners practice.
Rather, it is a place where laypeople can engage in zazen and work in order to look at and study themselves. Master Omori also devoted himself to teaching swordsmanship or kendo and calligraphy as a means of Zen practice. His wife also taught the tea ceremony.
The school has provided a place to practice "Zen with Sword (kendo)", "Zen with Calligraphy" and "Zen with Tea".
Since then, Tesshu's legacy and the Zen style of Master Seisetsu have been handed down from generation to generation. The fact that Kohoin, which has no parishioners, has continued for nearly 80 years due to the contributions and donations of many predecessors makes it a rare and special place.
In today's increasingly complex and confusing world, we believe it is important to continue to provide a place of relief for those who are troubled and suffering.
We believe we must keep this precious place alive for the future.