Kennin-ji Temple (Kyoto) Show mapShow gallery

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  • Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

  • Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

  • Kennin-ji Temple Hattou Or Dharma Hall, Kyoto

  • Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

  • Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

  • Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto and belongs to the Rinzai tradition, one of the three Zen branches in Japan (Rinzai, Soto and Obaku). The temple is part of the group of Kyoto Gozan (five most important Zen temples of Kyoto). Kennin-ji consists of the following buildings: Abbot’s Quarters (Hojo, an Important Cultural Property of Japan), Dharma Hall (Hatto), the Imperial Messenger Gate (Chokushimon), an beautiful teahouse (Toyo-bo), Sanmon Gate, a large Zen garden (Daio-en, Grand Garden) and the beautiful Chou-on-tei (garden of the sound of the tide). The Zen garden Chou-on-tei and the twin dragons painting on the roof of the Hodo hall is my must-see recommendation for you.

  • Kennin-ji Temple:
  • Opening Hours: - 10:00 am to 4:30 pm (last entry 4:00 pm, November to February)
  • Opening Hours: - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm, March to October)
  • Admission Fee - 500 yen (Adults), 300 yen (Student), free (Children)

History

Kennin-ji was founded by the monk Eisai (Myoan Yosai, 1141 - 1215) in the year 1202 with the help of Shogun Minamoto Yoriie and upon the request of Emperor Tsuchimikado. Monk Eisai introduced Zen to Japan. Over the centuries the temple burned down many times and was rebuilt afterwards.

Location Show map

Kennin-ji Temple is located south of the beautiful Gion district near the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple within the center of Kyoto.
Address: 584 Komatsucho, Higashiyama-ku, 605-0811 Kyoto

How to get to Kennin-ji?

  • 10-15min from Kyoto Station to Higashiyama by bus nr. 100 or 206

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Twin Dragons painting - made in 2002 by Koizumi Junsaku to celebrate the 800year anniversary of Kennin-ji, it measures 15,7m x 11,4m

Chou-on-tei (garden of the sound of the tide) - this must-see Zen garden is located behind the main building, a set of 3 stones (San-zon-seki) in the garden represent Buddha and 2 Zen monks

Hojo (Abbot’s Quarters) - built in 1599, it is an Important Cultural Property of Japan

Dharma Hall (Hatto) - built in 1765, used as the main hall of the temple

Toyo-bo Teahouse - a typical example of Sen no Rikyu style

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

February

Setsubun (3rd)
One day before spring arrives (lunar calendar) the Setsubun is celebrated. Bean throwing (Mame maki) ceremonies are held at the shrine to get a good fortune for the year. Do not miss the bonfire on the evening.

April

Miyako Odori (1st - 31th)
The traditional annual spring dance of the Kyoto district Gion Kobu performed by Geiko and Maiko is a must-see on your Kyoto visit. Don't miss the most popular dances the Miyako Odori "Cherry Blossom Dances" or "Dances of the Old Capital" at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (located close to Gion Corner).

May

Ochatsubo Dochu (1st)
The Ochatsubo Dochu or Traveling Tea Canisters festival dates back to the Edo Period. It represents the practice of showing the new tea harvest from Uji to the ruling shogun in the old days. Now during the parade large ceramic containers with tea are carried by people wearing traditional costumes from Kenninji Temple to Yasaka Shrine.

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.

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.

November

Shichi-Go-San (15th)
The well-being and growth of young children is celebrated at the shrine and in the rest of Japan.

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