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Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

#18 of 684 in Historic Sites in Kyoto
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Learn about the Zen branch of Japanese Buddhism at Kennin-ji Temple, which covers the religion's principles and history. Revered as one of the five most important Zen temples of Kyoto, the temple was founded in 1202 by the monk Yousai, whose remains lie buried on the grounds. Having survived many fires and restorations through the centuries, the current complex includes an abbot's quarters, dharma hall, tea house, and imperial messenger gate. Upon entry, notice the ceiling painting of two dragons, which commemorates the complex's 800th anniversary. Examine many remarkable artworks decorating the temple walls, and later head out to the choutei (the garden of the sound of the tide) to find some peace of mind. Work out when and for how long to visit Kennin-ji Temple and other Kyoto attractions using our handy Kyoto online trip itinerary planner.
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994 reviews
  • This temple, supposed to be one of the oldest in Kyoto, turned out to be more than I expected. It has a beautiful karesansui garden with a gate on background and a famous hall with quite recently...  more »
  • We couldn't visit it properly, it was already closed, and we only walked around the temple, not being able to get inside. It was sunset.. nice.. great for photography  more »
  • First place visited in Kyoto, waiting for hotel room to be ready. Beautiful grounds, temple, and main building. Well worth it and easy to get to in middle of Kyoto. Not crowded and much more relaxed than other major attractions. Enjoyed very much
  • One of my favourite spot in Kyoto. Unfortunately temporarily closed in response to Covid-19 pandemic.

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