A boardwalk and trails carried me through tall marsh reeds, beach grasses and swamp rose mallow bandied about by biting winds. Around me, sassafras, pitch pine, Eastern red cedar, American holly, bayberry, and white oak trees whispered and danced. Mute Swans floated on the ponds, all other birds gone south for the winter.
Founded as Muryoju Temple by the monk Ennin during the Heian period (794 to 1185), Kita-in Temple has ties to the Tokugawa Shogunate. Muryoju is another name for the Amitabha Buddha (Buddha of Unending Life), which is the main object of worship at the temple.
Burned down during fighting in 1205, the temple was rebuilt in 1298 by the monk Sonkai. Emperor Gofushimi made it head of the Tendai Sect temple in east Japan in 1300.