Chion-in Temple (Kyoto) Show mapShow gallery

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  • Sanmon Gate of the Chionin Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon Gate of the Chionin Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon Gate of the Chionin Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon Gate of the Chionin Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon Gate of the Chionin Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon Gate of the Chionin Temple In Kyoto

  • 800 Year Old Camphor Tree Shoren-in Temple

  • 800 Year Old Camphor Tree Shoren-in Temple

  • Pond Chion-in Temple Kyoto

  • Chion-in Temple Kyoto

  • Nijugo Bosatu-no-niwa, Chion-in

  • Nijugo Bosatu-no-niwa, Chion-in

  • Nijugo Bosatu-no-niwa, Chion-in

  • Ogane Large Bell, Chion-in

  • Ogane Large Bell, Chion-in

  • Ogane Large Bell, Chion-in

  • Ohojo Large Guest House, Chion-in

  • Ohojo Large Guest House, Chion-in

  • Yuzen-en Garden With Kannon Statue, Chion-in

  • Yuzen-en Garden, Chion-in

  • Yuzen-en Garden, Chion-in

  • Yuzen-en Garden, Chion-in

  • Yuzensai Miyazaki Bronze Statue, Chion-in

  • Hakuju-an Tea House, Chion-in

  • Hakuju-an Tea House, Yuzen-en Garden

  • Hakuju-an Tea House, Yuzen-en Garden

  • Yuzen-en Garden, Chion-in

  • Stairs Leading To The Upper Part of Chion-in

  • Statue Of Monk Honen, Chion-in

  • Seishido (Seishi Hall), Chion-in

  • Amitabha Golden Statue, Amidado Hall, Chion-in

  • Amidado Hall, Chion-in

  • Amidado Hall, Chion-in

  • Stone Lantern Infront Amidado Hall, Chion-in

  • Kara-mon Gate, Chion-in

  • Rei-to Pagoda, Chion-in

  • Makuzu-an Tea House, Chion-in

  • Shakyo-to Pagoda, Chion-in

  • Hai-den Hall, Chion-in

  • Shue-do Hall, Chion-in

  • Shue-do Hall, Chion-in

  • Shin-genkan, Chion-in

  • Nokotsu-do Hall, Chion-in

  • Hobutsu-den Hall, Chion-in

  • Kyozo Sutra Repository, Chion-in

  • Kyozo Sutra Repository, Chion-in

  • Hojo Garden, Chion-in

  • Kita-mon (North Gate), Chion-in

  • Miei-do hall - under construction until 2019, Chion-in

  • Miei-do hall - under construction until 2019, Chion-in

  • Inside Miei-do hall - under construction until 2019, Chion-in

  • Gongen-do Hall, Chion-in

  • Kuro-mon Gate, Chion-in

  • Stone Wall, Chion-in

  • Small Bell Tower, Chion-in

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Facts & Figures

The Chion-in Temple in Kyoto is the head temple of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect of Japanese Buddhism. The sect has millions of followers and Chion-in is one of the most sacred and most popular temples in Japan. At the entrance you are greeted by the largest temple gate in Japan. The so called San-mon Gate is with a height of 24 meters and a width of 50 meters a really impressive sight. Best Ryokans in KyotoExplore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
The temple complex consists of 106 buildings and is located at the foot of Mt. Kachozan. 12 buildings have been designated as Important Cultural Properties or National Treasures by the Japanese government. 2 gardens (Hojo and Yuzen-en) are open for the public and these are my must-see recommendations for you. Last but not least the heaviest temple bell (74 tons) in Japan is rung on New Year’s Eve at Chion-in.

  • Chion-in Temple Grounds:
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (last entry 3:50pm)
  • Admission Fee - free
  • Hojo Garden + Yuzen-en Garden:
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (last entry 3:50pm)
  • Admission Fee - Both Gardens - 500 yen (Adults), 250 yen (Children)

History

Chion-in is linked to Honen (1133 - 1212), the founder of the Jodo Shu (Pure Land Sect) of Buddhism. The temple was in the past destroyed by earthquakes and fires. Most of the buildings you see today dating back to the 17th century, but the original temple was built in 1234 by Honen's principle Genchi (1183 – 1238). Chion-in is since 1523 the head temple of the Jodo Shu. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 - 1616) was a follower of the sect and he and his family clan participated greatly in the further development of Chion-in.

Location Show map

Chion-in is located in Kyoto north of Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine within the Higashiyama district.
Address: Chion-in 400 Rinka-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-8686 Japan

How to get to Chionin Temple?

  • 20min from Kyoto Station to Chionin-mae bus stop by Kyoto City Bus 206

Sightseeing spots

most important places of Chionin:

San-mon Gate (main gate) - It is the largest temple gate in Japan and was constructed during the Edo era by Hidetada Tokugawa in 1621. This National Treasure belongs to the three greatest gates in Japan. The other 2 can be found at Kuon-ji Temple (Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture) and Nanzen-ji (Kyoto).

Mieido - The huge hall is housing the image of the founder Honen (1133 - 1212). At the moment Mieido, a National Treasure, is undergoing a major restoration until 2019. It serves as the center of the Chion-in temple grounds and was reconstructed by Iemitsu Tokugawa during the Edo era in 1639.

Shue-do (assembly hall) - The hall received the status of an Important Cultural Property and was constructed during the Edo era in 1635.

Kyozo (sutra repository) - Kyozo was constructed in 1621 and has the status of an important cultural property.

Amida-do Hall - Amida-do houses the image of Amitabha (Amida Nyorai).

Ohojo - The buidling, an important cultural property, is dating back to 1641 and was used as a large guest house.

Kohojo - Kohojo was used as small guest house and constructed in 1641. It has been designated as an important cultural property by the Japanese government.

Kara-mon Gate - The Chinese-style gate is a important cultural property and was constructed in 1641.

Daishoro (large bell tower) - Daishoro belongs to the 3 greatest bells in Japan. The other 2 can be found at Todai-ji (Nara) and Hoko-ji (Kyoto). This important cultural property was constructed during the Edo period in 1678.

Seishi-do hall - The hall is an important cultural property and the oldest building of the temple complex. It was reconstructed in 1530 (Muromachi era) and can be found in the upper part of the temple grounds.

Haiden (worship hall) - Haiden hall was built during the Edo period in 1710.

Gobyo (Honen’s mausoleum) - It was constructed during the Edo era in 1613. My tip: The location of Gobyo offers you amazing views over Kyoto.

Hojo Garden - This traditional Japanese Garden is dating back to 1641 and was designed by Buddhist monk So-Gyokuen.

Yuzen-en Garden - The garden was largely refurbished in 1954 in commemoration of Miyazaki Yuzen’s 300th birthday, the founder of the Yuzen style of dyeing.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

April

Gyoki Daie (Memorial Service for Hōnen) (18th till 25th)
This is the most important ceremony at the Chionin Temple including various events like the flower offering ceremony.

May

Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade from Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamo Shrines. More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto.

Arashiyama Mifune Matsuri (third Sunday of May)
The first part is held at the Kuramazaki Shrine. Later a procession is leading to the Oi River, where more ceremonies and traditional dances (Funa Asobi) are held. The Arashiyama Mifune Matsuri started in 1914.

July

Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July).

October

Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

December

Bell Ringing on New Year’s Eve (Joya-no-kane) (31st)
17 monks are needed to hit the bell 108 times.

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