Sometimes called the Vatican of Pure Land Buddhism, this vast temple is one of the most and popular temples in the city. It’s highly recommended.
Chion-in Sanmon temple: Aberu.Go / Shutterstock.com
Everything about Chion-in is on a grand scale, starting with the vast san-mon gate that serves as the official entrance to the compound. Before entering the temple, take a moment to admire the mind-bogglingly complex joinery that went into the construction of the san-mon gate. Then, step through and climb the steep steps up to the main compound (note that this staircase was used as a set in the 2003 Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai).
Cross the open plaza and you’ll soon be struck by the awesome sight on the main hall of the temple (known in Japanese as the “Goei-do”). It’s free to enter this hall and we highly recommend that you do: put your shoes in a bag and enter the hall and just spend a few minutes (or hours) soaking up the chanting of the priests. After this, don’t miss the fine image of Amida Buddha in the adjoining Amida-do Hall then climb the steps to see the temple’s 70-ton bell which is rung on New Year’s Eve.
Please note that the main hall of Chion-in Temple is presently being renovated. Construction finishes in March 2019. However, the temple is still well worth a visit and you can visit all areas except those under construction.
Walking Tour: Chion-in Temple features in our Private Walking Tour of Southern Higashiyama
400 Rinka-cho, Higashiyama-ku
9am-4:30pm, last entry 4pm
Inner buildings and gardens:
Junior and elementary school students: 150
(one of the two gardens not open since May 2011 due to major renovation work of the main temple building, but the admission has been discounted from 400 for that reason)
Non-smoking area: Yes
5min walk from Chion-in-mae Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 206 from Kyoto Station
15min walk from Higashiyama Station, Tozai subway line
Official Website (Japanese)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Near To Here:
Chion-in Temple is located in Kyoto’s Southern Higashiyama district. See our complete list of things to do in Southern Higashiyama, including places to eat, nightlife and places to stay.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)