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Temple Spots in Kyoto Area

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
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    4.5
    10590 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Kiyomizu 1-294
    A famous Buddhist temple located in Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The temple is said to have been started when the priest Enchin enshrined a thousand-armed statue of Kannon above the Otowa Waterfall in 778. The main temple nave enshrines a standing figure of an eleven-faced Kannon and is built in the elegant Shinden-zukuri style. The Kiyomizu Stage jutting out over the Cliffside offers a sweeping view of the streets of Kyoto and blooming cherry trees, verdant plant life, or autumn foliage depending on the season, making it a popular photo spot. The three channeled Otowa Waterfall is said to provide benefits such as long life and people line up to drink its waters. Bustling with students on a school excursion as well as tourists both domestic and international, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist sites.

    One of the nicer place to see autumn leaves. Too bad the temple is still under renovation. But I still won't skip this place if I visit Kyoto.

  • Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kamigyou-ku Bakurochou
    Popularly known as “Kitano no Tenjin-san,” this Shinto shrine is located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City. The shrine was founded in 947. It is also the head shrine of all 12 thousand Tenmangu and Tenjin shrines throughout the country dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the god of scholarship. The shrine is frequented by students and test-takers not only during entrance exam season in winter but throughout the year. The main shrine, erected in 1607, is a National Treasure and a magnificent example of Momoyama architecture. Famed for its Japanese apricot blossoms, a gorgeous open air tea ceremony is performed by Kamishichiken geisha at the shrine during the Plum Blossom Festival on February 25. The shrine also bustles with numerous street stalls and people during the Tenjin Market, opened every month on the 25th.
  • Rokuon-ji Temple (Kinkaku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    15343 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Kinkakujichou 1
    This temple began when third generation shogun of the Muromachi shogunate Ashikaga Yoshimitsu inherited the Saionji family's mountain villa and called the villa “Kitayamadono.” After his death it was changed into a Zen temple named “Rokuonji.” The reliquary hall is a three-story building shining beautifully in gold and looks pretty reflected in the Kyokoike (mirror pond). This brilliant architecture was a symbol of Kitayama culture but burned down in a 1950 fire, then was rebuilt in 1955. In 1994 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    It's a beautiful setting with vendors at start and finish. An interesting walk as part of our tour....which included a few shrines . Not much to see beyond the gardens and building photo ops .

  • Yasaka-jinja Shrine (Gion Shrine)
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachikitagawa 625
    Popularly known as Gion Shrine, this Shinto shrine is the head shrine of all 3,000 some Gion shrines in Japan. The main shrine building, a designated Important Cultural Property, is actually comprised of the separate shrine sanctuary and worship hall combined under one roof in an architectural style called Gion-zukuri. The shrine’s famed Gion Matsuri festival in summer got its start as a ceremony to pray for the end of a great plague in 869. From New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, the shrine is visited by a great many worshippers come to perform the “okera-mairi” ceremony. The ceremony involves lighting a lucky rope from sacred fire of burning “okera” (Atractylodes japonica) roots to bring the fire home and start one’s first home fire of the new year, thus bringing good luck for the rest of the year. The Ota-sha Shrahige-jinja Shrine located on the grounds of Yasaka Shrine is believed to provide grant divine favor to those seeking to improve in the performing arts and, as such, the shrine is visited by Gion geisha and maiko.
  • Byodoin
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    4.5
    1409 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Ujishi Uji Renge 116
    A Buddhist temple located in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture that was founded in 1052 when Fujiwara no Michinaga, the father of Fujiwara no Yorimichi, turned a villa he had inherited into a temple. Due to the pessimism of the time which believed the world was coming to an end, Pure Land Buddhism grew in popularity, and the temple’s hall was designed to recreate the Western Paradise, a key aspect of the faith. The luxurious hall enshrines a seated figure of Amitabha created by the Buddhist sculptor Jocho. Most of the original temple excluding the main hall, Kannon hall, and bell tower were destroyed by fire. In the Byodoin Museum Hoshokan, however, visitors can view a Chinese Phoenix depicted on the ceiling and temple bell (National Treasures) as well as 26 of the 52 floating bodhisattva figures suspended from the ceiling of the main hall.

    The temple and grounds are very beautiful and calming. The museum has a wonderful collection and it was also very peaceful to wonder through. If you want something relaxing to do for an hour or two...

  • To-ji Temple (Kyo-o-gokoku-ji Temple)
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Minami-ku Kujouchou 1
    This Buddhist temple is the only remaining structure built during the days of the ancient capital of Heian-kyo (the former name of the city of Kyoto) and officially named Kyo-o gokoku-ji Temple. The temple was registered as a World Heritage site in 1994. The temple’s numerous National Treasures are worthy of note, such as its Kondo Hall (Main Hall), Daishido Hall (Miei House), and five tier pagoda, which is 55 meters (187 feet) tall and is the tallest wooden structure in Japan. Some of the temple’s many other historic and cultural assets include the southern gate and lecture hall, both registered as Important Cultural Properties.
  • Jisho-ji Temple (Ginkaku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    4254 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ginkakujichou 2
    A mountain retreat modeled after the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Gold Pavillion Temple) built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, grandfather of the eighth Muromachi shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, in 1482. After Yoshimasa’s death, the villa was turned into a Rinzai Shokoku-ji school Zen Buddhist temple and, based on Yoshimasa’s posthumous name, the temple was named the Jishoji Temple. The Kannon Hall, commonly known as the Ginkaku (Silver Pavillion), is simple and elegant in its design; the Togu-do hall is the oldest extant example of ancient Japanese shoin-zukuri architecture and is designated a National Treasure.

    This was the first temple and gardens we visited in Kyoto and after viewing many others, we thought it was one of the better ones. Impressive clipped hedges walking up to the entrance. Excellent...

  • Nanzen-ji Zen Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Nanzenjifukuchichou
    The head temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was founded by the priest Mukan Fumon as the Zenrin-ji-dono, the imperial villa of Emperor Kameyama in 1291. The temple’s standing is high; it is considered above the five most important Rinzai temples in both Kyoto and Kamakura. Its triple gate is considered one of the three most impressive temple gates in Kyoto and is also famous as the setting of a scene in the kabuki play Sanmon gosan no kiri, in which the character of Ichikawa Goemon utters the well-known line, “How beautiful, how beautiful!” The temple houses numerous Important Cultural Properties, such as famed painter Kano Tan’yu’s screen paining The Tiger of Mizunomi. The grounds contain an abbot’s residence which is a National Treasure and was moved here from the former imperial palace of Fushimi Castle. The temple’s garden is a dry landscape garden representative of the early Edo period style.
  • Tofuku-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1608 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Honmachi 15-778
    Construction of this large temple was begun in 1236 by the regent Kujo Michiie, who wanted to enshrine Kyoto’s largest monastery. The construction ultimately took 19 years to complete. The temple’s spacious grounds are home to such highlights as Japan’s oldest main temple gate (a designated National Treasure), and a toilet constructed in the Zen style as well as a temple nave decorated with a painting of a dragon on its ceiling (both Important Cultural Properties). Four gardens are distributed to the east, west, north, and south sides of the grounds, and each offers charming but different scenery. The northern garden in particular, with its checkerboard of moss and stones, is a must-see.

    We have visited many spots for autumn foliage in Kyoto. Tofuku-ji Temple is definitely number one. The dense red leaves in myriad shades and shapes are beautiful beyond description. No photo can...

  • Ryoanji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Ryouanji Otoritoshita 13
    This Buddhist temple in Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture is famous for its rock garden. A Zen temple, it was founded in 1450 by the statesman Hosokawa Katsumoto. The shrine grew dilapidated due to the anti-Buddhism movement of the early Meiji period but became world-famous after Queen Elizabeth II visited the temple and praised the beauty of the rock garden. The garden, called the Hojo Tei-en, is a traditional flat garden comprised of 15 stones of various sizes placed amongst white gravel which are designed such that one of the stones will not be visible no matter what angle one views the garden from. Highlights of the temple include Japanese camellias admired by the great general Toyotomi Hideyoshi as well as the Zorakuan tea house. The best time to see the water lilies blooming in the temple pond starts from early summer.
  • Kodai-ji Zen Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Kodaiji Shimogawara-machi 526
    This temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City was founded in 1606 to pray for Toyotomi Hideyoshi's happiness in the next life by his wife, Nene. Along with a mausoleum for the both of them, you can also visit the front gate of former Fushimi castle, the Kasatei teahouse, the Shiguretei teahouse, the Kaisando hall which holds favorite mementos of the two, and the Mizukidai pavilion (all of which are Important Cultural Properties of Japan). The fine gold lacquer work on the Buddha dais and miniature shrine within the mausoleum are masterpieces of Momoyama-period artwork and known as Kodai-ji Temple Makie. The garden on site surrounding a small pond is not to be missed and has been nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty as well as a Historic Site. It is lit up during the sakura cherry blossom season in spring, at night in summer, during the gorgeous foliage season in fall, and on New Year's Eve.
  • Eikando Zenrin-ji
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    4.5
    1523 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Eikandouchou 48
    The head temple of Nishiyama Zenrinji Pure Land Sect of Buddhism, located in Eikando Town, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was erected by Shinsho, a disciple of the famed priest Kukai, in 853 to serve as a Pure Land Sect dojo. Thereafter, a man named Eikan joined the priesthood and began engaging in philanthropic works while spreading Pure Land Buddhism and encouraging people to pray to Amitabha. Accordingly, the name “Eikando” is derived from his name. The temple is famous for its standing figure of Amitabha, which is looking back over its shoulder. An exhibit of the temple’s treasure house is held in November. The temple has also been famous for its autumn foliage since ancient times.

    Many people make a point to visit Kyoto at the end of November in order to catch a glimpse of the stunning colours appearing when the leaves change. It is particularly those of the Japanese maple and...

  • Kegon-ji Temple (Suzumushi-dera Temple)
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    4.0
    265 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Matsumurojikechou 31
    A Rinzai Buddhist temple in Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto City. Some 50 thousand bell crickets are bred on the temple grounds annually, and due to their songs, audible not just in autumn but throughout the year, the temple has come to be known as the Suzumushi-dera (Bell Cricket Temple). In addition to a figure of Dainichi-nyorai (Voirocana), the main object of worship, the temple also enshrines a statue of Jizobosatsu (Kshitigarbha), and the temple attracts Kshitigarbha worshipers from around the nation as well as persons seeking aid with university entry, attaining better fortune, and finding a suitable partner. The temple is famous for its “Happy Kshitigarbha,” the only one in Japan to be depicted wearing straw sandals and said to grant a single wish, as well as its Suzumushi-seppo (Bell Cricket Sermons) given by priests, and the temple actively welcomes worshipers.

    I visited Suzumushi temple on weekend with my university friends. The lecture from chief priest was very interesting and there are many bell crickets. We heard the sound of the bell cricket. It was...

  • Kurama-dera Temple
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    4.5
    320 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Kuramahonchou 1074
    A Buddhist temple whose origin dates back to 770 when Gantei (Jiàn zhēng) shonin, the leading disciple of the Chinese priest Ganjin (Jiàn zhēn) wajyo, enshrined a statue of Bishamonten (Vaisravana: the guardian god of Buddhism) here. Thereafter, in 796, Chief of Temple Construction Fujiwara no Isendo had an additional temple building constructed here enshrining a figure of Senju Kannon (Thousand-armed Buddhist Goddess of Mercy). The temple is known for its legends regarding a tengu (long-nosed goblin) and Ushiwakamaru (young Minamoto no Yoshitsune), and there are sites along the mountain trail leading to the inner sanctuary from behind the main temple building connected to him. The “path of 99 bends,” which famed author and court lady Sei Shonagon described as being “short yet long” in her Pillow Book, extends for approximately one kilometer between the main temple gate and the main temple building, but visitors may also ride a cable car up to the temple’s two tier pagoda. A renowned “power spot,” this popular site is visited by great numbers of people each year.

    We have been here twice now climbing Mount Kurama with our Reiki student group. The tempel is beautiful and it is worth climbing up further the mountain to see the natural sights ans lantern lined...

  • Chion-in temple
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    4.0
    584 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Rinkachou 400
    This Buddhist temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City is the head temple of the Jodo Pure-land Buddhist Sect. It was founded on the grounds where Pure-land Sect founder Honen built a thatched hut and passed away. After his death the Tokugawa family expanded the grounds and began construction of what would be the large-scale temple. National Treasures of Japan on the ground include the Miedo Hall and the three main gates before the temple while the Karamon gate and the great bellower have been designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan. A definite point to see are the three two-story wooden gates before the temple, which are the largest in Japan. * The Miedo Hall is closed for repair until 2020.

    This is a huge temple complex, which is undergoing renovation. Don’t let that put you of though, it was nice to stroll around. We were there on Sunday afternoon and there weren’t many visitors which...

  • Sanzen-in Monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple)
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    4.5
    730 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ohararaikouinchou 540
    This Buddhist temple’s origin dates back to the Enryaku period (782–806), when the priest Saicho opened a temple in the To-do on Mt. Hiei; the temple moved to its current location in 1871. The temple grounds are filled with historic buildings, including the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall and reception halls for Imperial and regular guests. The Amida Hall on the south side of the grounds houses a figure of Amitabha flanked by two attendants, a National Treasure. There are numerous other highlights, including the beautiful moss-covered Shuheki-en and Yusei-en gardens. Seasonal flowers and natural beauty can be enjoyed on the temple’s grounds year round, as well, including cherry blossoms in the spring and fall foliage in autumn.

    I am so happy I took the bus ride to Ohara, it turned out to be a very pleasant destination, of the few Temples there this is a must to see. It is almost virtually at the end of road.

  • Daigoji Temple
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    4.5
    565 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Fushimi-ku Daigohigashiojichou 22
    This temple is the grand head temple of the Daigo School of the Shingon sect and is located in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The ample grounds of this temple cover over 1633 acres on Mt. Daigo, and is registered as a world heritage. In 874, one of Kukai's disciple's disciple, Rigen Daishi Shobo, built a simple edifice on this mountain which became the beginnings of this temple. The temple is divided into upper Daigoand lower Daigo, connected by a rugged mountain path. The premises are allocated with over 80 pagodas and temples. Notable, the golden pavilion that is a national treasure, and the five-tier pagoda built in the Heian period of which there are only a few in the prefecture. On the second Sunday in April, the HotaikoHanamigyoretsu procession, which ToyotomiHideyoshi started, is held annually in concurrence with the Daigo Hanami flower festival.

    Stayed one night at mitsui garden Okayama . Was the worst hotel stay ever. The Aircon doesn’t work, we had to open the windows but the sound of traffic was too loud for a peaceful sleep. The beds...

  • Ninna-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Omuroouchi 33
    This temple built in 888 by Emperor Uda is also known as Omuro Gosho. It is a World Heritage site and head temple of the Omuro sect of Shingon Buddhism, with a number of Important Cultural Properties on the expansive grounds including the National Treasure main building, five-storied pagoda, Goei-do building and Deva gate. The late blooming “Omuro Sakura” cherry blossom are best seen from mid to late April, and in autumn one can enjoy the beautiful and symbolic Kyoto sight of red and yellow leaves covering the road up to the main temple.
  • Higashi Honganji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Karasuma-dori Seven Rises
    Higashi Honganji Temple is the head temple of the Otani sect of Shinshu Buddhism. The “Goeido” housing an image of sect founder Shinran is said to be one of the world’s largest wooden buildings with dimensions north-south of 76 meters, east-west of 58 meters, and a height of 38 meters. It was occasionally devastated by fire, and the current building is a reconstruction from the Meiji period. The gate outside Goeido, “Goeidomon,” is one of Kyoto’s three large gates.
  • Bishamon-do Temple
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    4.0
    97 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Yamashina-ku Anshuinariyamachou 18
    A Tendai Buddhist temple in Yamashina Ward, Kyoto City. The principle object of worship is a figure of Vaisravana, seen as one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, and the temple is believed to provide aid with achieving thriving business and safety and peace in the household. The temple was originally the Izumo-dera Temple, which was founded by the priest Gyoki at the request of Emperor Monmu in 703. After much hardship caused by repeated wars, the temple was eventually rebuilt in Yamashina. The “moving screen paintings” created by Kano Masunobu which decorate the Shinden hall are famous and make skillful use of reverse perspective to make it seem as if the viewer is seeing them on center regardless of the angle. Located at the foot of a hillside overlooking the Yamashina Basin, the temple is a well-known spot in Kyoto for viewing cherry blossoms in spring and fall foliage in autumn.

    This place is not very popular among tourist, unlike Kinkakuji which is known by everybody. And that also the reason I choose to visit this temple. After visit other popular temples crowded with...

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Its wooden tea houses, shuffling geisha, and spiritual sights have seen Kyoto hailed as the heart of traditional Japan, a world apart from ultramodern Tokyo. Despite being the Japanese capital for over a century, Kyoto escaped destruction during World War II, leaving behind a fascinating history which can be felt at every turn, from the fully gold-plated Kinkakuji Temple down to traditional customs such as geisha performances and tea ceremonies, which are still practiced to this day.

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