Shokokuji Temple (Kyoto) Show mapShow gallery

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Domo arigato.
  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) Shokokuji Temple

  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) Shokokuji Temple

  • Kuri Shokokuji Temple

  • Shoro Bell Tower Shokokuji Temple

  • Shoro Bell Tower Shokokuji Temple

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  • Kyozo Shokokuji Temple

  • Kyozo Shokokuji Temple

  • Bonsho Bell Donated By Daxiangguo Temple, Shokokuji

  • Hachiman Shrine (Left) Bonsho Bell (Right) Shokokuji

  • Shokokuji Temple Grounds

  • Shokokuji Temple Grounds

  • Shokokuji Temple Gate

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Facts & Figures

Shokokuji belongs to the five great Zen temples of Kyoto (Kyoto Gozan), which are Tenryu-ji, Nanzen-ji, Kennin-ji and Tofuku-ji. Only Tenryu-ji is ranked above Shokokuji. The temple is the headquarter of Shokokuji School of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism and includes over 100 sub-temples within Japan. Best Ryokans in KyotoExplore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
Interesting to know that the famous Ginkakuji (Temple of the Silver Pavilion) and Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) are part of the sub-temples. When you enter the temple grounds you will find there the huge and impressive Dharma Hall (Hatto). It is the oldest in Japan. Important: Most of the buildings are not open for the public. There will be announcements on their website for special exhibitions. Right now 13 buildings are part of the Shokokuji Temple complex.

  • Shokokuji-ji Jotenkaku Museum:
  • Opening Hours - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Closed - end of the year, New Year (shogatsu)
  • Admission Fee - 600 yen (Adults), 400 yen (University Students), 300 yen (Junior/Senior High School Students), 200 yen (Elementary School Students)

History

The construction of Shokokuji started in 1382 during the Muromachi Period (1336 - 1573) by the order of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It took till 1392 to finish the project. Unfortunately the whole temple complex burned down just 2 years later. The reconstruction afterwards was supported by Yoshimitsu. Shokokuji was destroyed many times during its long history. The last major fire happened in 1788 where only the Dharma Hall (Hatto) and the Imperial Gate survived. Not all structures were rebuilt afterwards like the Buddha Hall and Sanmon gate.

Location Show map

Shokokuji is located north of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and Doshisha University.
Address: 701 Shokokuji Monzen-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0898

How to get to Shokokuji Temple?

  • 5min walk from Imadegawa Station served by Karasuma subway line
  • Doshisha-mae stop served by bus nr. 4, 102, 201, 203 and 17

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Jotenkaku Museum - A great place to learn more about the history of the Muromachi Period. On display are important collections of treasures and cultural assets from Shokokuji, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji and other temples. Many of those exhibition items are considered Important Cultural Properties or National Treasures.

Hatto (Dharma Hall) - The Buddhist Lecture Hall, an important Important Cultural Property, was constructed in 1605. Toyotomi Hideyori financed the project. It is the oldest Dharma Hall in Japan and a great example of the Zen style architecture during the Muromachi Period. Tourists can clap their hands under the dragon painting (Naki-Ryu) on the ceiling by artist by Kano Mitsunobu to hear the resonating sound. It is possible to visit the hall during some special events in spring or autumn.

Shoro Belfry - The belltower was rebuilt in 1844.

Festival & Events in Kyoto (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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