Nanzen-ji Temple (Kyoto) Show mapShow gallery

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Domo arigato.
  • Sanmon The Main Gate Of Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon The Main Gate Of Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon The Main Gate Of Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon The Main Gate Of Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Sanmon inlandGate Of Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Aqueduct Within Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Aqueduct Within Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Aqueduct Within Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Aqueduct Within Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • O-genkan Of Kuri Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Honbo Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

  • Saisho-in Entrance/Gate Subtemple Of Nanzen-ji

  • Poem Saisho-in Subtemple Of Nanzen-ji

  • Shoro (Belfry) Nanenz-in Subtemple Of Nanzen-ji

  • Shoro (Belfry) Nanenz-in Subtemple Of Nanzen-ji

  • Temple Grounds Stone Lantern Nanzen-ji

  • West Gate Nanzen-ji Temple In Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

Nanzenji (formerly Zenrin-ji) is a large Zen Buddhist temple complex in Kyoto. It is also one of the head temples within the Rinzai sect (one of two major Zen Buddhist sects in Japan). Nanzenji belongs to the five great Zen temples of Kyoto (Kyoto Gozan), which are Tenryu-ji, Shokoku-ji, Kennin-ji and Tofuku-ji. The area is a national designated Historic Site. The famous and huge two-storey Sanmon Gate forms the main entrance of Nanzenji. Best Ryokans in KyotoExplore Ryokans in Kyoto
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It has a height of 22m and is part of the top three gates in Kyoto. The other two are San-mon Gate at Chion-in Temple and the Goei-do Mon Gate at Higashi Hongan-ji Temple. Within the complex there are many subtemples (twelve in total) located like Konchi-in Temple, Tenjuan Temple, Nanzen-in Temple and Hojo. The Hojo gardens (Leaping Tiger Garden) received the title of a Place of Scenic Beauty. Through the vast grounds of the temple complex passes a 19th century aqueduct. The aqueduct carried water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto. For sure not a sight you would expect in this place.

  • Hojo and Sanmon Gate:
  • Opening Hours - 8:40 am to 5:00 pm (March - November, last entry 4:40 pm)
  • Opening Hours - 8:40 am to 4:30 pm (December - February, last entry 4:10 pm)
  • Closed: - December 28 to 31
  • Admission Fee - 500 yen (Adults), 400 yen (High school students), 300 yen (Junior high and elementary school students)
  • Konchi-in Temple:
  • Opening Hours - 8:40 am to 5:00 pm (March - November, last entry 4:40 pm)
  • Opening Hours - 8:40 am to 4:30 pm (December - February, last entry 4:10 pm)
  • Closed: - open all year
  • Admission Fee - 400 yen (Adults), 300 yen (High school students), 200 yen (Junior high and elementary school students)
  • Nanzenin:
  • Opening Hours - 8:40 am to 5:00 pm (March - November, last entry 4:40 pm)
  • Opening Hours - 8:40 am to 4:30 pm (December - February, last entry 4:10 pm)
  • Closed: - in December 28 to 31
  • Admission Fee - 300 yen (Adults), 250 yen (High school students), 150 yen (Junior high and elementary school students)
  • Tenjuan Temple:
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (March - November)
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (December - February)
  • Closed: - open all year
  • Admission Fee - 400 yen (Adults), 300 yen (High school students), 200 yen (Junior high and elementary school students)

History

Nanzenji started as a retirement villa for Emperor Kameyama (1249–1305) in the mid 13th century. It was later converted into a Zen Buddhist temple. The temple complex was completely destroyed during the Onin Civil War in the 15th century. The oldest buildings now dates back to the 16th century.

Location Show map

Nanzenji is located close to Kyoto's Philosopher's Walk and Ginkakuji Temple.
Address: Fukuji-cho Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

How to get to Nanzenji?

  • 20min from Kyoto Station to Keage Subway Station by Tozai Line and
  • 10min walk from Keage Subway Station to Nanzenji or
  • 35min from Kyoto St. to Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop by Kyoto City Bus Nr. 5 and
  • 10min walk from Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop to Nanzenji

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Sanmon Gate - built in 1628 by Todo Takatora, the two-storey main gate honours the soldiers who died during the civil War Oska Natsu-no-jin (1614-1615), the view from the top floor is great

Nanzenin Temple - the place includes a small temple hall, mausoleum of the emperor Kameyama and a beautiful garden

Hojo - the abbot's quarters, famous for paintings on the sliding doors and a Japanese garden

Tenjuan Temple - dedicated to emperors Kameyama Zen master, dont miss the impressive rock and pond garden

Konchi-in Temple - one of the small subtemples, the garden alone is worth the admission fee (it is considered as one of Japan's finest)

Aqueduct - constructed during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and its used to this day as the major water source for Kyoto

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

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

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.

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