Shinsen-kyo – Hakone Sacred Grounds
- Address 1300 Gora
- City Hakone
- State a-Kanagaw Prefecture
- Country Japan
- ZIP Code 250-0408
- Contact 0460-2-2623
- Opening time 09:30 AM
- Closing time 16:30 PM
Hakone Sacred Grounds
Komyo Shinden (Divine Light Sanctuary)
Shinsen means that which has a mystic or spiritual vibration; kyo means a place. As a place of very high spiritual vibration, the Shinsen-kyo can be referred to as the “divine paradise.” The Shinsen-kyo is situated in Gora, Hakone of the Izu-Hakone National Park, northwest of Atami. The Shinsen-kyo is 1,968 feet (600 m) above sea level and contains a little over 20 accres (80,940 m2).
Meishu-sama moved from the former headquarters of the church in Tamagawa, Tokyo to Hakone in May, 1944. At that time, the grounds in Hakone were covered with forests and dense thickets, and it was difficult to even locate the paths. Meishu-sama immediately began his construction of a prototype of paradise on earth. Materials and provisions were scarce, but Meishu-sama gave first-hand instruction to the servers about the placement of every tree, stone and blade of grass. The construction was completed in seven years.
The Divine Light Sanctuary (Komyo Shinden)
While the construction of the Shinsen-kyo was proceeding, Meishu-sama also acquired 10 acres (42,000 m2) of land next to the Shinsen-kyo on the north side of the Soun-zan cable-car line. At that time, Meishu-sama said:
“The main sanctuary of Sekai Kyusei Kyo will be built here in the future.”
In the realization of Meishu-sama’ desire, the sanctuary was completed on October 5, 1971. The sanctuary has a very simple form – four pillars supporting a large square roof. The dome of the globular ceiling describes in mosaic glass the Light of God whirling into space from a vortex. The use of this kind of Italian glass mosaic over such a large area is the first of its kind in Japan.
The Mausoleums of Meishu-sama and Nidai-sama (Okutsuki)
To the shock and sorrow of the entire membership, Meishu-sama returned to the spiritual realm on February 10, interred there. The area was a thickly covered forest and members worked day and night during the coldest part of the year to clear the forest and move the earth to build the mausoleum. Nidai-sama passed away on January 24, 1962 and was also buried there on his right.
Hall of Sunshine (Nikko-den)
The Nikko-den was completed in August of 1948. It originally contained 3,225 squre feet (300 m2) because of the government restrictions on floor space at t he time, but it was later enlarged to 78,475 square feet (730 m2). In the building Meishu-sama’s calligraphy, “Nikko-den” (Hall of Sunshine) is displayed and it is signed “Meii,” one of Meishu-sama’s pen names. Services used to be held here before the Divine Light Sanctuary was completed and now it is used for seminars and other events held in Hakone.
Villa of Shinzan (Shinzan so)
Shinzan-so, the first house that Meishu-sama acquired in Hakone, was bought in May 1944. He moved there from Tokyo and made it the base from which to start construction of the Shinsen-kyo. The name of the house is derived from Mount Kami which can also be read shinzan in Japanese. This is the highest mountain of the Hakone Range. Meishu-sama liked this house very much and
The Hakone Art Museum
The Hakone Art Museum was opened on June 15, 1952. Meishu-sama designed the building himself and supervised everything from the construction of the building to the making of the display cases. The building harmonizes beautifully with the gardens of the Shinsen- kyo. It is a three-story ferro-concrete building in Chinese style; it has a floor space of 9,470 square feet (881 m2).
Meishu-sama was always on hand to supervise the arrangement of new displays, and on worship days, he always took pride in displaying articles that he had just acquired. He would say, “I must show these to the members.”
Retreat of the Mountain Moon (Sangetsu-an)
In 1950, after three years of construction by Mr. Seibee Kimura, a master craftsman of tea houses, the Sangetsu-anteahouse was completed. It is very well-known in Japan among contemporary tea houses. The house is traditional Japanese architectural style with a pyramid-shaped thatched roof; it is 882 square feet (82 m2). The house was designed to create a peaceful and calm atmosphere in which to enjoy the tea ceremony.
Mountain View Pavilion (Kanzan-tei)
The construction of Kanzan-tei was completed on August 15, 1946. It was Meishu-sama ’s residence while he was in Hakone for the summer months; now it is a memorial dedicated to Meishu- sama. It is a typical Japanese residence with a low-gabled roof covered with shingles. It contains one western-style room where Meishu-sama wrote his teachings when he was in Hakone. It has a floor space of 1,312 square feet (122 m2). As the name of the house implies, it has a wonderful view of the Hakone Mountains, especially Myojo and Myojin Mountain. On clear days the Pacific Ocean can be seen and in the background the Miura Peninsula and the Boso Peninsula, where Mount Nokogiri is located.
Pavilion with a view of Mount Fuji (Fujimi-tei)
The Fujimi-tei was originally built in October 1936 within the headquarters compound of the church in Tamagawa, Tokyo. The building is Japanese style with a flat tile roof, and has three rooms and a kitchen; the building is 538 square feet (50 m2). The church was first established on January 1, 1935. Meishu-sama channeled Johrei and gave guidance to everyone who came to the headquarters. At Fujimi-tei, Meishu-sama wrote the characters for the Sacred Focal Points (Ohikari) and sacred scrolls. The building was restored and rebuilt in the Shinsen-kyo on the ninety-second anniversary of Meishu-sama’s birth, December 23, 1974, where it remains as one of the monuments which has a special significance in the history of our church.
House of Bush Clover (Hagi-no-ya)
The walkway leading to the Hakone Art Museum is lined with bush clover which blooms beautifully in late September drooping red and white blossoms over the rocks along the pathway. Even before the church was established, Meishu-sama liked Hakone very much and spent one summer there in a rented cottage. Hagi-no-ya is where he stayed. After the Shinsen-kyo was established, Hagi-no-ya was moved to its present position and restored in memory of Meishu-sama’s stay in Hakone that summer.
Meishu-sama wrote calligraphies for the Ohikari and sacred scrolls there for an hour every day. Hagi-no-ya is considered as a part of the bamboo garden, and shows a little of the Chinese style. It has a floor space of about 462 square feet (43 m2).
The Ponds, Waterfalls, and Rocks of the Garden
The arrangement of the garden utilizes the background of the Hakone Mountains to create an impression of a remote mountain region; the rocks, waterfalls, and ponds of the Shinsen-kyo garden further heighten this feeling. The garden appears larger than it actually is and provides visual variety from any angle. Many different kinds of rocks were used in the garden and they all came from the area of the garden itself. Nowadays these rocks could be moved by machines, but at the time the garden was built, machines were not available. Large numbers of people worked together to dig out the rocks and move them. The area of this part of the garden is about 27,950 square feet (2,600 m2).
Ancestral Shrine (Soreisha)
In October 1958, Nidai-sama established the Ancestral Shrine based on the teachings of Meishu-sama, which say that we should pray for the happiness and welfare of those in the spiritual realm. Those enshrined are members of the Okada family, ancestors, and friends of members, and also souls from all countries who have died in war. Memorial services are conducted every morning and evening, and at other regular intervals. The original building itself contains 5,268 square feet (490 m2).
Since the mid-80’s a new Ancestral Shrine has been constructed inside the Hall of Worship of the Atami Sacred Grounds, giving more members a chance to pray for their loved ones.
Meishu-sama first built Shinsenkyo in Gora, Hakone among the three Sacred Grounds. (The site has about 19.8 ha / 2,150,537 sq. ft.)
In the premises, there are the Hakone Museum of Art (Affiliated with the MOA Museum of Art) and the religious facilities of Komyo-shinden (Divine Light Sanctuary).
It also has a beautiful moss garden harmonized with their natural surroundings in four seasons.
The Hakone Museum of Art was established in 1952 (a three-story, ferroconcrete or reinforced concrete building). Meishu-sama himself designed all the interior decorations and display shelves of the Museum. A lot of windows are placed in the exhibition rooms so that you can thoroughly appreciate the fine arts in communion with the nature.
The museum focuses on the china collection from Middle Ages (such as Tokoname, Seto, Echizen, Shigaraki, Tanba, Bizen), which has great depth. Japanese ceramics of all times, from the Jomon period (about BC 10000 – BC 300) to the Edo period (1603 – 1868), are always exhibited.
In its moss garden, various kinds of moss gathered from all parts of Japan are planted. When maple trees and other trees turn in autumn, they fascinate us with the beautiful colors in contrast to the green of the moss. You can also enjoy a bowl of Japanese green tea of natural farming at a teahouse in the garden. The Museum enhances human sentiments through the beautiful gardens and old Japanese ceramics.