The oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, Kennin-ji Temple is an oasis of calm on the edge of Gion with a superb Zen garden.
Kennin-ji Temple © Olivier Lejade
Follow Hanami-koji Lane to its southern end and just before it turns east, you’ll find the entrance to Kennin-ji Temple, which stands in serene contrast to the nightly drama of lust and debauchery in nearby Gion.
Kennin-ji zen garden © EverJean
In addition to the spacious grounds, which make for pleasant contemplative strolling, there are two highlights here: 1) the pristine white karesansui (dry gravel “Zen” garden), and 2) the two dragons painted on the roof of the adjoining Hodo Hall. Just figuring out how to get from one hall to the other is a kind of genius test and those who successfully navigate the complex gate system must surely be on the road to enlightenment.
Komatsu-cho, Yamatooji-dori, Shijo sagaru, Higashiyama-ku
10am-5pm, last entry 4:30pm March-October
10am-4:30pm, last entry 4pm November-February
Closed Dec 28-31
High and junior high school students: 300
Non-smoking area: Yes
10min walk from Gion Shijo Station, Keihan line
See hotels near to Kennin-ji Temple on Agoda.com
Official Website (English)
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.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- 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.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for your Japan trip - book online with World Nomads