Unlike in the western culture, in Japan the dragon is considered a benevolent creature, a protector of the Buddhist law and many Zen temples are decorated with paintings representing dragons. However, that’s not a rule and Kenchō-ji Temple, the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan and the temple with the highest rank in the Kamakura Five Mountain System, wasn’t decorated like this until recently…
In 2003, when the temple celebrated 750 years since its founding, a spectacular 12 by 10 meters image representing a dragon was painted on the ceiling of the Kenchō-ji Hatto (Dharma Hall). Made by the Japanese painter Koizumi Junsaku, the painting represents the Cloud Dragon (Un’ryu) and since then the building became known as Ryūō-den 「龍王殿」, the hall of the Dragon King.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: