Shōkoku-ji (相国寺), formally identified as Mannen-zan Shōkoku Shōten Zenji (萬年相国承天禅寺), is a Buddhist temple in northern Kyoto, founded in 1382 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

Shōkoku-ji was founded in the middle Heian period. Initial construction of the central temple structures was begun in 1383, and the entire temple complex was initially dedicated in 1392. In the eighth month of the third year of Meitoku, Yoshimitsu organized a great banquet attended by all the great officers of the Imperial court and the military leaders of that time. The pomp and ceremony of the affair was said to have equaled an Imperial event.

The entire temple complex was destroyed by fire in 1394; but reconstruction financed by Yoshimitsu followed soon after. This process of damage and rebuilding has been repeated many times over the centuries, notably during the Onin War.

After the Muromachi period, Shōkoku-ji was supported by several national leaders such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, his son Toyotomi Hideyori, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, all of whom helped finance the temple’s various reconstruction projects.

  • Hideyori financed the 1605 reconstruction of the Hatto (Dharma Hall); and this structure, designated as an Important Cultural Property, is presently the oldest building of its type in Japan.
  • Ieyasu donated the Sanmon (Mountain Gate) in 1609.
  • Emperor Go-Mizunoo donated an imperial palace building to serve as the Kaisando (Founder’s Hall).

Other buildings were reconstructed during this period, but, with the notable exception of the 17th century hatto, the temple complex was largely devastated during the conflagration of 1788

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