Shofukuji Temple

6 of 8 spots
in Fukuoka
75% 181
Shofukuji's Butsuden Hall
× How was it?

Shofukuji (, Shōfukuji) has the distinction of being the first Zen temple constructed in Japan. It was founded in 1195 by the priest Eisai, who introduced the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism from China into Japan. Although the temple buildings cannot be entered, visitors can walk through Shofukuji's attractive temple grounds and observe the buildings from outside.

Before Zen's introduction to Japan, Buddhism has already had a long history in Japan dating back to the 500s. The new teachings of Zen, which Eisai amassed during his travels in China, promoted meditation and discipline as the means to enlightenment and became very popular with the samurai class, which was exerting political power through the shogunate government based in Kamakura.

Shofukuji's Sanmon Gate

The temple grounds of Shofukuji have many of the features of a typical Zen temple, and its wooden buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout the centuries. There are a number of gates on the temple grounds, the most prominent of which is the Sanmon Gate. The large gate stands in front of a small pond and bridge and was most recently rebuilt in 1911.

Behind the Sanmon Gate a tree lined path leads to the Butsuden Hall, which holds a small wooden statue of the historical Buddha flanked by giant golden statues of other Buddhas on either side. The building's ceiling is decorated by a painting of a cloud dragon. Shofukuji has a number of other interesting buildings, such as a belfry and a hall dedicated to Eisai. More Buddhist architecture can be seen at a few smaller temples in the surrounding neighborhood.

A belfry beside one of the paths of the temple complex

Questions? Ask in our forum.

Get There and Around

Shofukuji Temple can be reached in a short walk from Gion Station, one station from Hakata Station by subway (100 yen one way). Alternatively, from Hakata Station it is a 15-20 minute walk to the temple.

How to get to and around Fukuoka

Hours and Fees


Always open


No closing days



Hotels around Fukuoka

Find a hotel:

  • Fukuoka
  • Fukuoka
  • Hakone
  • Hiroshima
  • Hokkaido
  • Kamakura
  • Kanazawa
  • Kansai Airport
  • Kyoto
  • Mount Fuji
  • Nagasaki
  • Nagoya
  • Narita Airport
  • Nikko
  • Niigata
  • Okinawa
  • Osaka
  • Sapporo
  • Sendai
  • Shima Peninsula
  • Takayama
  • Tokyo
  • 1 night
  • 2 nights
  • 3 nights
  • 4 nights
  • 5 nights
  • 6 nights
  • 7 nights
  • Agoda
  • Hostel World
  • Japanese Guest Houses
  • HotelsCombined
  • The Ryokan

Japan Guide Recommends:

Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

Luxury hotel inside the Canal City Hakata complex.


Hotel Nikko Fukuoka

Comfortable 4-star hotel a short walk from Hakata Station.

Agoda Booking

Hotel Route Inn Hakata Ekimae

Reliable business hotel just across Hakata Station.

Agoda Booking
Anything we can improve?  Let us know
We strive to keep Japan Guide up-to-date and accurate, and we're always looking for ways to improve. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:
Thank you for your feedback.
Page last updated: June 18, 2016