Zuiun-kyo – Atami Sacred Grounds
- City Atami
- State Shizuoka
- Country Japan
- ZIP Code 413-8585
- Contact 0557-85-3131
- Opening time 09:00 AM
- Closing time 17:00 PM
Zuiun-kyo is the name given to the Sacred Grounds of Atami.
Zuiun means a bank of light clouds said to portend something auspicious; kyo means a place. The Zuiun-kyo can be referred to as the “celestial paradise.” About the Zuin-kyo Meishu-sama once said, “Atami is ideally blessed with mild weather, hot springs, mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and a beautifully jagged coastline; thus presenting matchless scenery, full of variety. The fact that I was able to purchase a parcel of land in the best location in Atami so quickly shows that God had prepared this area since the beginning of time.”
The Zuiun-kyo is a place provided by God in His Great Plan.
The area was once a mountain thickly covered with trees, without anything even resembling a road. In the spring of 1946, full-scale construction of the Sacred Grounds was started under Meishu- sama’s direction, with the dedicated service of hundreds of members from all over Japan. The area where the Hall of Worship now stands was made level by shaving off a part of the side of the mountain. Earth removed from this area was used to fill in the area under the southern part of the hall and also to build the hills in the plum garden. Stones taken from the mountain were used to build the stone walls on the grounds. It was a very difficult and great construction project for those days.
Meishu-sama visited the construction site every day to give instructions, chart new plans, and encourage the members engaged in the construction work.
Meishu-sama once remarked, “As I stand at the construction Atami site, a good idea comes to me and I apply that idea to the construction.” The building of the Sacred Grounds was carried out following Meishu-sama’s personal instructions, and the basic pattern of the Zuiun-kyo, as we see it today, was completed in 1954. At present, the grounds comprise over 50 acres (202,350 m2).
The Hall of Worship (Kyusei Kaikan)
The present Hall of Worship was reconstructed in April 1972. Previously at the same site, there was a hall which was designed personally by Meishu-sama.
The exterior of the new hall was designed to express Meishu- sama’s conception of the old hall, which had vertical stripes in white and gray, by creating a similar effect with the reflection of a row of columns against a white wall. The auspicious clouds (zuiun) design by Meishu-sama is found on the drop curtain in front of the altar, and also on each of the forty-two fifteen-meter high columns.
The whole building is about 3 acres (12,000 m2) and has 3,456 seats in the main auditorium on the third and fourth floors. Including its spacious conference rooms, the hall can seat 6,000 persons – twice the capacity of the old hall.
The Holy Sanctuary (Kyusei Shinden)
The Holy Sanctuary was completed in October 1961 under the direction of Nidai-sama, who succeeded the spiritual leadership of the Johrei movement in 1955. It is dedicated to the Great God of Light. The solemn and graceful Holy Sanctuary is built in the irimoya style, with split gables; the roof is covered with copper sheets. The exterior is covered with granite and the interior is finished with Japanese cypress; it is a sanctuary with modern brightness and a quiet purity.
The Crystal House and Azalea Hill (Suisho-den and Tsutsuji-yama)
This building was d esigned by Meishu- sama. The name “Crystal House” is derived from Meishu-sama’s idea of p aradise on earth as a crystal world, free from clouds. Using a cantilever structure, Meishu-sama removed pillars from the structure to give an unobstructed view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. This building is used mainly as a reception hall for guests.
In front of the Crystal House is a gently sloping hill of about 3,000 m2 (32,250 square feet) covered with 3,600 azaleas. The azaleas are in full bloom from late April through early May. More and more people come every year to enjoy the beautiful array of colors, making this one of the most scenic spots in Atami.
Plum Garden (Baien)
The plum garden can be appreciated from above or below. Meishu-sama enjoyed the paintings of Korin Ogata very much and he fashioned this garden in the style of Korin. The garden consists of undulating hills with small paths meandering through various species of plum trees. There are 360 trees, some of which are over one hundred years old. Meishu-sama instructed his workers, “Plum trees which bloom beautifully have no fragrance, so only plant trees which bear fruit for they have a sweet fragrance.” Thanks to the devoted care of servers, the old trees bloom beautifully every year.
Lightning Stairs (Inazuma Kaidan)
This is a stone stairway leading to the main entrance of the Hall of Worship. It is named after the zig-zag shape of lightning.
This was also Meishu- sama’s design. Each of the openings on the handrail of the stairway is of a different size, but they fit naturally with the number of stairs a nd landings. The white s tone gives a refreshing Atami feeling of brightness and purity. Meishu-sama gave careful thought to the width and height of the stairs to provide easy walking for people of all ages.
The MOA Art Museum
The Atami Art Museum was established within the old Hall of Worship in 1957, as an accompaniment to the Hakone Art Museum. The museum was temporarily closed during the reconstruction of the hall and reopened again upon completion of the new Hall of Worship.
Combining man-made beauty and the natural beauty of the area, a new museum and garden were completed in 1982 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the birth of Meishu- sama. It was constructed on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The art collection of calligraphies, paintings, sculpture, and ceramics consists mostly of items chosen personally by Meishu- sama. The collection contains nearly 2,000 items including such Japanese national treasures as the Red and White Plum Screen by Korin Ogata, the Wisteria Jar by Ninsei, and the Kanboku jo, a collection of poetry.
Zuiunkyo in Atami (Atami Sacred Grounds)
There are Holy Sanctuary, Worship Hall and other facilities at Zuiunkyo (24.7 ha / 2,688,172 sq ft) in Atami, five-minute drive by car from Atami station.
Meishu-sama started to construct this Zuiunkyo about the same period when he started to build Shinsenkyo in Hakone.
There are 360 plum trees both in red and white that fulfill the garden with sweet fragrance in early spring. There are also many cherry trees, 3,600 azaleas of 40 different kinds, hydrangeas, bush clovers, etc. You can enjoy all the seasonal blossoms.
As Zuiunkyo is located on the top of the hill by the sea coast, it produces a beautiful view of the Sagami Gulf in the Pacific Ocean. You can overlook the Hatsushima Island and Izu-Ohshima Island, and even the Miura Peninsula to Bousou Peninsula over the gulf on a fine day.
The Suishoden (means “Crystal House”) was built in 1954 at the most beautiful outlook of Zuiunkyo. This hall has the semicircular front with no pillars, with an angle of 180 degrees, which provides a panoramic and picturesque view just like “Fusuma-e ”, the paintings on Japanese sliding doors. MOA Museum, established 1982, holds three national treasures including “Red and White Plum Blossoms” by Korin Ogata (1657 – 1716), which was collected by Meishu-sama himself, and further 3,500 works including 65 important cultural properties. Focusing its collection on Oriental Arts of paintings, calligraphies, and crafts, it also has some Western paintings and sculptures collected in recent years.
Additional broad cultural activities are held, such as flower arrangement, tea ceremonies, exhibitions of children’s works and so on.