Ninnaji Temple (Kyoto) Show mapShow gallery

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Domo arigato.
  • Nio-mon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Guardians (Agyo, Ungyo) Nio-mon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Map Ninnaji Temple

  • Chu-mon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Chu-mon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Guardians Chu-mon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Honbo-omotemon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Goten Imperial Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Shiro-shoin Paintings Ninnaji Temple

  • Shiro-shoin Paintings Ninnaji Temple

  • Dantei South Garden Chokushi-mon Gate Ninnaji Temple

  • Dantei South Garden Ninnaji Temple

  • Shinden Dantei, Hokutei Garden Ninnaji Temple

  • Fusuma-e Pictures Shinden Dantei, Ninnaji Temple

  • Fusuma-e Pictures Shinden Dantei, Ninnaji Temple

  • Fusuma-e Pictures Shinden Dantei, Ninnaji Temple

  • Gagku Painting Shinden Dantei, Ninnaji Temple

  • Fusuma-e Pictures Kuro-shoin, Ninnaji Temple

  • Reimeiden Ninnaji Temple

  • Hokutei North Garden Ninnaji Temple

  • Hokutei North Garden Ninnaji Temple

  • Hokutei North Garden Ninnaji Temple

  • Five-Storied Pagoda Ninnaji Temple

  • Five-Storied Pagoda Ninnaji Temple

  • Five-Storied Pagoda Ninnaji Temple

  • Five-Storied Pagoda Drawing Ninnaji Temple

  • Kon-do Ninnaji Temple

  • Kon-do Ninnaji Temple

  • Kyo-zo Sutra Hall Ninnaji Temple

  • Kyo-zo Sutra Hall Ninnaji Temple

  • Kusho Myojin Shrine Ninnaji Temple

  • Kusho Myojin Shrine Ninnaji Temple

  • Haiden Kusho Myojin Shrine Ninnaji Temple

  • Syoro Bell Tower (Shoro) Ninnaji Temple

  • Syoro Belfry Ninnaji Temple

  • Mizukake Fudo-son Ninnaji Temple

  • Mie-do Ninnaji Temple

  • Mie-do Ninnaji Temple

  • Omura-sakura Trees Ninnaji Temple

  • Omura-sakura Trees With Five-Storied Pagoda

  • Omura-sakura Trees With Five-Storied Pagoda

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Facts & Figures

Ninna-ji, former Omuro Imperial Palace, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and belongs to the group of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. The temple serves as the headquarter of the Omuro school of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Enter the Ninna-ji temple grounds through the huge and impressive Nio-mon Gate and you will find yourself in a different world. Best Ryokans in KyotoExplore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
My must-see recommendations for you are the Five-Storied Pagoda, Kon-do (main hall and National Treasure), Omuro-zakura Trees, Chu-mon Gate, Syoro Bell Tower and of course the Goten Complex (the main residence halls of the imperial chief priest).

  • Ninna-ji:
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm, Mar till Nov)
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (Dec till Feb, last entry 4:00 pm)
  • Closed - never, open the whole year
  • Admission Fee only for Goten Palace Buildings - 500 yen (Adults + High School Students), 300 yen (Junior High School and Elementary School Students)

History

Emperor Koko (830 – 887) gave in 886 the order for the construction of Nishiyama Gogan-ji Temple. After his death Emperor Uda (867 – 931) finished the project in 888 and gave the temple the name Ninna-ji. After he retired in 897 Emperor Uda devoted himself to practice Shingon Mikkyo (Esoteric Buddhism). Since that moment it was a tradition to send a member of the imperial family to serve as the abbot at this temple. This ritual was maintained until the Meiji Restoration. During the Onin War in 1467 most of the temple complex was destoryed by fire. Under the 21st abbot Prince Kakushin (1588–1648) and with the financial support of the Tokugawa Shogunate the temple grounds could be restored in the 17th century. Most of the buildings you see today dating back to this time. In 1994 Ninna-ji received the status of an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Location Show map

Ninna-ji is located near Omuro Station and Ryoan-ji Zen Temple within the Ukyo district in Kyoto.
Address: 33 Omuro-ouchi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8092

How to get to Ninna-ji Temple?

  • 2min walk from Omuro Ninna-ji Station served by Keifuku Railway Kitano Line
  • 30min from Kyoto Station to Omuro-Ninna-ji stop by JR bus (Japan Rail Pass covers the ride)

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Kon-do (Main Hall) - The former throne hall (Shishin-den) of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto was built in 1613 and later moved to this location. Kon-do enshrines an golden image of Amitabha Buddha which is considered a National Treasure in Japan.

Five-Storied Pagoda - The height of this beautiful pagoda is 36,18m. This important cultural property was built during the Edo Period in 1637. What makes the structure of the pagoda so special is that the width of each story is almost the same. To make the pagoda resistant for earthquakes one main pillar (shinbashira) was used throughout the whole structure. The walls and pillars are decorated with paintings of Buddhist images.

Nio-mon Gate - Nio-mon belongs to the three most famous and important temple gates in Kyoto. The other two are Sanmon Gate at Nanzen-ji Temple and Sanmon Gate at Chion-in Temple. The height of this gigantic gate, which was rebuilt in 1637, is 18,7m. The angry looking Niozou Statues, Agyo and Ungyo are placed at the entrance and Karajishizou Statue on the back.

Syoro Bell Tower - The huge belfry (Shoro) is an architectural masterpiece of the Edo Period. It has been designated as an Important Cultural Property.

Goten (Omuro Palace) Complex - It was the main living quarters of Monzeki (imperial chief priest). The complex consists of the Shinden (main residence), Shiro-shoin, Kuro-shoin and Reimeiden. These buildings are connected by roofed corridors and gardens (Dantei - South Garden, Hokutei - North Garden). Do not miss the beautiful Fusuma-e paintings at the sliding doors of Kuro-shoin by Insho Domoto (1891 - 1975). In 1887 the Goten Complex was completely destroyed by fire and rebuilt about 20 years later.

200 Omuro-sakura Trees - This place was designated as a National Scenic Beauty Spot in 1924. I really enjoyed my time there during the cherry blossom season.

Festival & Events in Kyoto (dates can change without notice)

April

Sakura Matsuri at Ninna-ji Temple (till middle of April)
Enjoy the beautiful cherry blossom season and walk through the little park behind the Chu-mon Gate.

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).

Obon Festival at Higashi Honganji Temple (30th - 31st)
The annual summer Obon Festival honors the spirit of our ancestors. You can enjoy there tea ceremony demonstrations, games, flower market, delicious food, Bon Odori Dancing and much more.

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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