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Temple Spots in Ayashiyama / Sagano Area

  • Ryoanji Temple
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    4.0
    2561 Reviews
    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.

    A nice place to think about old philosophy- there are 15 stones in the garden, However, you can only see 14 of them at any angle while seated. You are left to judge the meaning of this garden

  • Kegon-ji Temple (Suzumushi-dera Temple)
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    4.0
    294 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...

  • Tenryu-ji Temple
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    4.5
    8 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatenryujisusukinobabachou 68
    The head temple of Rinzai Tenryuji Buddhsim. The temple is one of the foremost sightseeing locations in the Saga Arashiyama area. The temple was founded in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji to memorialize Emperor Go-Daigo. The temple was founded as the first of the five Kyoto Gozan premier temples and the spacious grounds encompassed over 150 sub-temples, but these were all lost in a series of later fires. The various temple buildings standing today were reconstructed in the Meiji period; the abbot’s chamber enshrines a seated figure of Gautama Buddha created in the Fujiwara period. The temple’s circular garden, built around a central pond, is a designated Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty and makes use of Mt. Arashiyama and Mt. Kameyama in the background. The garden looks the same as it did approximately 700 years ago when it was first created by Muso Kokushi.

    You can reach this temple from Kyoto by train, ride takes ca 10-15min or by bus 35-45 min, depending time of the day and departing point. The original Tenryuji temple was built in 1339 and it has...

  • Ninna-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1225 Reviews
    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.

    The temple has a large cherry -blossom garden, I recommend it for spring time visitation. You have a chance to see a temple and a palace at the same point

  • Yoshimine-dera Temple
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    4.5
    125 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Oharanoshiochou 1372
    A Buddhist temple located in the Oharano area of Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was founded in 1029 by the priest Gensan. The temple is connected to the fifth Tokugawa shogun Tsunayoshi’s mother Keishoin; the hanging bell tower was donated by her to ward evil away from Tsunayoshi. The grounds, located halfway up a mountain, are some 99 thousand square meters in size. Visitors can enjoy some of Kyoto’s greatest views of the city and Mt. Hiei while strolling the grounds, as well as seasonal flowers and plants. In spring, the temple boasts weeping, mountain, and Somei-yoshino cherry blossoms which dye the grounds pink. One weeping cherry on the ground is over 300 years old and is said to have been planted by Keishoin.

    Another one for the Autumn. Japanese maples abound however, the temple buildings themselves, though almost a thousand years old, fails to impress.

  • Daihonzan Myoshin-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Hanazonomyoushinjichou 64
    The head temple of the roughly 3,400 Rinzai Myoshin Buddhist temples nationwide, located in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple, once an imperial villa, was opened as a Zen temple in 1337 per the wishes of Emperor Hanazono. Thereafter, the temple prospered under the cordial worship of daimyos from the Toyotomi and Tokugawa clans. The temple is also veritably surrounded by 46 sub temples such as the lecture hall as well as the triple temple gate and sanctum, Important Cultural Properties. The temple bell, National Treasure, is the oldest bell in Japan to be inscribed with date it was crafted. The temple also houses numerous treasures and the Image of a Dragon and Clouds by Kano Tan’yu on the ceiling of the lecture hall is a must-see.
  • Matsunoo Taisha
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    4.0
    167 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Arashiyamamiyamachi 3
    The oldest Shinto shrine in Kyoto and located in Nishikyo Ward. Seated at the foot of Mt. Matsuo, the shrine’s object of worship, the distinctive Muromachi period (1333–1568) architecture of the main shrine building is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. The mountain is seen as the god of sake and has attracted followers accordingly since the Middle Ages; the shrine’s mikoshi hall is stacked high with sake barrels. The waters of the shrine’s Kame-no-I (Turtle Well) are also famed for giving health, long life, and revitalization, and sake brewers, producers, and salespeople from around the country still come here to bring some of the water home with them.

    幸運の双鯉は恋愛成就、夫婦円満、立身出世を願い撫でて祈念します。 I wish for a love fulfillment, a married couple, and a successful career. 幸運の撫で亀は寿命長久、家庭円満を願い撫でて祈念します。 The turtle is lucky to have a long life and wish for family...

  • Daikakuji temple
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    4.5
    366 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagaosawachou 4
    Located in the Saga area of Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, this is the head temple of the Shingon Daikaku-ji school of Buddhism. The temple’s principle object of worship is five figures of the great wisdom kings centering around Acala. The temple was founded by Emperor Saga. A former villa that belonged to Emperor Saga which was renovated into a temple, the grounds contain many imperial buildings that were moved here. The strikingly beautiful screen paintings in the Botan-no-Ma and Kobai-no-Ma rooms in the Shinden hall (an Important Cultural Property) were painted by Kano Sanraku. The temple is also located near Uzumasa, where many historical dramas are filmed, and the temple grounds themselves are also frequently used to shoot historical and other varieties of drama programs. As the birthplace of flower arrangement, the temple is also famous for being the head temple of the Saga Goryu school of flower arrangement.

    Daikaku-ji Temple was initially an imperial villa of Emperor Saga during the Heian period. The huge temple with ornate doors surrounded by beautiful gardens and a large lake were targets for...

  • Toganoosan Kosanji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Umegahata Togeno-cho 8
    This temple was rebuilt in the early 13th Century by the priest Myoe. The zen monk Eisai cultivated the seeds of the tea he brought back to Japan from the Chinese Song dynasty, and those seeds were passed on to Uji which would become famous as the birthplace of tea. The temple holds a number of National Treasures and Important National Cultural Properties including the Choju Jinbutsu Giga (caricatures of frolicking birds, animals and humans).
  • Jojakko-ji Temple
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    4.5
    296 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagaogurayamaogurachou 3
    A temple in Sagano, Kyoto City located midway up Mt. Ogurayama which was featured in the Hyakunin Isshu collection of poetry. The temple was founded in 1596 by monk Nisshin, the head priest of Honkoku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. The main hall is a former part of Fushimi Castle that was reconstructed on site. The gate flanked by carvings known as Unkei statues of the two Deva Kings was the former south gate of the reception hall at Honkoku-ji Temple which was moved to this location. The temple grounds which spread across Mt. Ogurayama are known for beautiful autumn colors, especially around the two-story cypress thatched pagoda. The temple offers an amazing view over the Kyoto cityscape.

    Jojakkoji Temple was located after the bamboo trail. Entrance fee was required but there were full fall colors within the temple garden on the slope during autumn period. Nice to have a view there...

  • Nison-in Temple
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    4.0
    145 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Saganisoninmonzenchoujinchou 27
    A Tendai Buddhist temple located in the Sagano area of Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City. The temple is called the Nison-in, meaning “Hall of Two Buddhas,” because its principle objects of worship are two standing figures of Gautama Buddha and Amitabha. The temple is said to have been founded by the priest Ennin at the behest of Emperor Saga during the early Heian period. In addition to the main temple nave, the grounds are dotted with the graves of court nobles and distinguished families. Famed for its autumn foliage, the temple is visited by numerous worshipers each year in fall. The temple path extending from the main gate, once the Yakuimon gate at Fushimi Castle that was moved here, is nicknamed the “Autumn Foliage Horse Riding Grounds” on account of the beauty of the scenery during the season.

    Quiet and peaceful temple far from the crowds. Ideal atmosphere to meditate. Silence. Very interesting statues.

  • Giouji Temple
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    4.5
    394 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatorimotokozakachou 32
    A Shingon Daikaku-ji Buddhist temple located in Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City. Known as the “Covenant of Blighted Love,” it even appears in the ancient epic, The Tale of the Heike. Legend has it that Gio, a dancing girl who lost the love of military leader Taira no Kiyomori to a woman named Hotoke-gozen, joined this temple as a nun together with her mother and younger sister. Thereafter, Hotoke-gozen was also welcomed into the temple, and the four quietly spent their remaining years here. The Soan, a thatched hut, houses the temple’s principle object of worship, a figure of Vairocana, as well as wooden figures of Taira no Kiyomori, Gio, her younger sister Ginyo, her mother Toji, and Hotoke-gozen. The Hokyoin-to is said to mark the graves of Gio and Ginyo. The Yoshino Window in an anteroom of the Soan is famous for casting a rainbow colored image.

    Small yet really really beautiful in autumn. The autumn leaves against green moss was worth the ticket price. Less crowded and more able to enjoy the feel of temple and autumn. Worth to drop by if u...

  • Jingo-ji Temple
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    4.5
    185 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Umegahata Kaohsiung-cho 5
    A Koyosan Shingon Buddhist temple located in Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City. The temple is also located in in the center of Mt. Takao in the Atago Mountain Range. Founded by the nobleman Wake no Kiyomaro, the famed priest Kukai served here for 14 years starting in 809. The Daishido Hall was a reconstruction of the residence where Kukai lived. Built in a residential style, it is a designated Important Cultural Property. The temple’s principle object of worship, a standing figure of the Healing Buddha, is a National Treasure and aside from the painted red lips and black eyebrows and eyes is bar wood. The temple houses numerous Buddhist artworks and cultural properties, such as the standing figures of the Five Major Kokuzo Bosatsu in the two-tier pagoda as well as a temple bell regarded as one of the three most famous in Japan. Visitors can also enjoy throwing an earthenware plate, a tradition to ward away evil, in front of the Jizoin hall.

    If you are not capable of walking stairs, don’t go. The temple is located on the top of Takaosan hill and visitors need to walk down and up the valley and stairs. And the temple is very natural and...

  • Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatorimotofukatanichou 2-5
    A Tendai Buddhist temple located in Sagano in Kyoto Prefecture that has attracted many faithful since the Heian period (794–1185) for providing protection against misfortune. The temple gained its name, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, from the priest Senkan, who was ordered to restore the temple after it was damaged by the flooding of the Kamo River and who constantly intoned the nenbutsu prayer. The temple’s principle object of worship is a thousand-armed figure of Kannon warding away evil. The grounds are filled with 1,200 arhat figures, each with a differing expression. Surrounded by Japanese irises in spring and autumn foliage in fall, the sight of these friendly statues brings comfort to visitors.
  • Hogon-in Temple
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    4.5
    154 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Saga Tenryuji Susukino Baba-cho, 68
    A sub temple of the Rinzai Tenryu-ji Buddhist Tenryu-ji Temple located in the Arashiyama area in Kyoto City. The temple’s spectacular garden incorporates the surrounding scenery of Arashiyama. A traditional circular strolling garden built around a central pond and arrayed with huge boulders such as “Shishi-iwa (Lion-Dog Rock),” the garden was even included in the Edo period Miyako rinsen meisho zue, a publication which noted various famous sights and locations of scenic beauty in Kyoto. The garden is only opened to the general public on special days in spring and autumn. At night, the garden is lit up in a manner befitting the wondrous scenery of this historical garden.

    Last year I found this temple after autumn colours ended and it was a different festival where they light up. I thought it was serene, beautiful and one of the highlights of my trip. This year I had...

  • Seiryo-ji Temple
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    4.0
    132 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagashakadoufujinokichou 46
    A Jyodo Buddhist temple located in the Saga area of Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. Given the honorific mountain name Mt. Godai, the temple’s principle object of worship is a figure of Gautama Buddha. Known as the Saga Shaka-do, it has also been known as the Yuzu Nenbutsu no Dojo since the Middle Ages. The temple was founded when Minamoto no Toru, said to be the model for the heroic character of Hikaru Genji in The Tale of Genji, erected the Amitabha hall. The temple’s Gautama statue was brought by a priest called Chonen (934–1016) from Sung China who made a pilgrimage to Mt. Godai. Called the “Living Gautama,” it is a designated National Treasure. The figure is specially unveiled in April, May, October, and November, giving the general public a chance to see its unusual, non-Japanese styling.

    Not many Japanese temples have the Shakyamuni Buddha statue, the historical Buddha. This is already so when Buddhism spread from China to Japan in ancient times. Hence this is one rare temple to...

  • Temple No. 9, Horinji Temple
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    4.0
    84 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Arashiyamakokuzouyamachou
    A Buddhist temple and located on Mt. Arashi, a Place of Scenic Beauty, in Nishikyo Ward in Kyoto City. The principle object of worship, a figure of Akasagarbha, is popularly known as “Saga no Kokuzo-san.” The temple was founded by the priest Gyoki at the request of Empress Genmei in 713. Dedicated to wisdom, the performing arts, and protecting those born in the year of the Ox, the temple is famous for the “Jusan Mairi,” an event in which boys and girls aged 13 years old according to the old way of reckoning visit the temple in order to be blessed with intelligence and fortune. A traditional memorial service for old needles is held at the temple on December 8 which gathers used sewing needles from around the country. The grounds also contain the Dendengu, a shrine dedicated to electrically-related industries.

    If you want to escape the mad crush at Arashiyama, Horin-ji makes a nice visit. It has great views of Kyoto and the surrounding hills. While lacking the lovely gardens of Kyotos great temples...

  • Jizo-in Temple
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    4.0
    75 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Yamadakitanochou 23
    A Buddhist temple located in Nishikyo Ward in Kyoto City known as the “Bamboo Temple” due to the bamboo forest which surrounds it. The temple was founded by Hosokawa Yoriyuki, a government minister in the Muromachi shogunate, in 1368. According to legend, famed eccentric monk Ikkyu studied at the temple when he was a boy. The temple’s traditional level rock garden, called the Garden of the 16 Arhats, contains 16 carefully arranged stones representing the arhats and represents the arhats undergoing training. The surrounding maples and bamboo together with the moss carpet covering the temple grounds evoke the elegance of Kyoto. In autumn, the temple is colored beautiful by the changing foliage.

    There are currently construction work and almost the entire house and back garden are not accessible. It is also extremely noisy. I don’t understand why they change people the full price of 500 yen...

  • Saimyōji Temple
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    4.0
    51 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Umegahata Makio Town 1
    A Buddhist temple famed for its autumn foliage. The temple was built by the priest Chisen, a disciple of the great Kukai, in the Tencho period (824–834). It is believed that the current temple nave was rebuilt with a donation from Keishoin, the mother of the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. The temple’s principal object of worship, a standing wooden figure of Gautama Buddha (a registered Important Cultural Property) housed in the temple nave, is just 51 centimeters high and is believed to have been modeled after the great priest Myoe of the Kosanji Temple. The standing figure of the thousand armed Kannon (another Important Cultural Property) standing at his side was carved in the Heian period is notable for its delicate facial features.

    Bus from Kyoto City 1 per hour, but extra buses during autumn for tourists. There are 3 famous temples within 20 minutes walking distance, if arrive earlier, you can get to see 3 of them within 1...

  • Torin-in Temple (Sarasoju no Tera)
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    4.0
    3 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Hanazonomyoushinjichou 59
    Torin-in Temple is one of the sub temples of Myoshinji Temple. It was constructed by Hosokawa Ujitsuna for his father’s memorial service. In the garden is a 300-year-old sal tree, best viewed in June when there is the “Sal Appreciation Gethering.” It is not normally open to the public. 

    ふだんは宿坊と精進料理のお寺ですが、6月の沙羅の花を愛でる会で特別公開されます。お抹茶付で1,600円。精進料理もいただけるようです。入口で受付して中に入ります。しばらくして名前を呼ばれ、お抹茶の用意がされた席に案内されます。お庭の沙羅の花がはらはらと青苔に落花する様がはかなく美しかったです。

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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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