Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

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  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) of Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Hatto (Dharma Hall) Shokokuji Temple

  • Hatto (Dharma Hall) of Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Hatto (Dharma Hall) Shokokuji Temple

  • Kuri Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Kuri Shokokuji Temple

  • Shoro Bell Tower Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Shoro Bell Tower Shokokuji Temple

  • Shoro Bell Tower Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Shoro Bell Tower Shokokuji Temple

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  • Kyozo Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Kyozo Shokokuji Temple

  • Kyozo Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Kyozo Shokokuji Temple

  • Bonsho Bell Donated By Daxiangguo Temple, Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Bonsho Bell Donated By Daxiangguo Temple, Shokokuji

  • Hachiman Shrine and Bonsho Bell at Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto

    Hachiman Shrine (Left) Bonsho Bell (Right) Shokokuji

  • Shokokuji Temple Grounds in Kyoto

    Shokokuji Temple Grounds

  • Shokokuji Temple Grounds in Kyoto

    Shokokuji Temple Grounds

  • Shokokuji Temple Gate in Kyoto

    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 (Supervisor Role), Kennin-ji, Tofuku-ji and Manju-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 Kyoto Explore 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 Buddhist Lecture Hall 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, like the the Kitchen and Living Quarters (Kuri), Founder’s Hall (Kaisando) and Abbot’s Quarters (Hojo).

  • 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)

My tips for local activities

Explore the best parts of my favourite city Kyoto with a local guide. The personalized tour can take between 2 - 8 hours. Check out this page > for more details.


The construction of Shokokuji started in 1382 during the Muromachi Period (1336 - 1573) by the order of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358 - 1408). 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 (in 1394, 1425, 1467 - Onin War, 1549 - Tembun Uprising, 1788 - Great Temmei Fire). The last major fire happened in 1788 where only the Dharma Hall (Hatto) and the Imperial Gate (Chokushimon) survived. Unfortnuately not all structures were rebuilt afterwards like the Buddha Hall and Sanmon gate.


Map of Japan

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


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 Cultural Property, was reconstructed in 1605. Toyotomi Hideyori (1593 - 1615) 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. Btw the Kennin-ji Temple in Kyoto displays also a huge Twin Dragons ink painting on the ceiling by artist Koizumi Junsaku (1924 – 2012).

Shoro Belfry - The belltower was rebuilt in 1844.

Choku-mon - The gate is dating back to 1797. The Kyoto prefectural government gave it the status of a Tangible Cultural Property.

Chokushimon (Imperial Envoy Gate) - This gate opens only during visits of the Emperor.

Kitchen and Living Quarters (Kuri Kojakuin) - In 2007 the Kyoto prefectural government gave this building the status of a Tangible Cultural Property.

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


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).


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.


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).


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.


Buildings open for the public at Shokokuji temple complex (1st - 10th)
Within a short period of time the Lecture Hall (Hatto), Main Hall (Hondo), Founder's Hall (Kaisando) and Zuishun-in sub-temple are open for the public in November.

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