One of our all-time favorite temples in Kyoto, Shoren-in is bypassed by almost all tourists and bus groups.
Shoren In Temple © KimonBerlin
Formerly a retreat for the abbot of the Tendai School of Buddhish, Shoreh-in is an intimate little temple perfectly situated against the green of the Higashiyama Mountains. Because it was originally built as a residence rather than a religious building, the place looks more like a villa than a temple, and that’s a good thing in this case. The superb buildings look over an exquisite garden, which is centered on a tranquil carp pond.
After inspecting the buildings, you can retrieve your shoes and explore the garden on foot (highly recommended). The way is clearly market and will take you by a fine tea house, where well-connected tea masters hold occasional tea ceremonies. You’ll eventually pass by a fine bamboo grove before coming out to a wide, mossy field. Like Kodai-ji Temple and Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Shoren-in occasionally does night light up, which may not be traditional, but they are awesome nonetheless.
Walking Tour: Shoren-in Temple features in our Private Walking Tour of Southern Higashiyama
69-1 Sanjobo-cho, Awataguchi, Higashiyama-ku
9am-5pm, last entry 4:30pm
High and junior high school students: \400
Elementary school students: \200
Non-smoking area: Yes
3min walk from Jingu-michi Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 5, 46, or 100 from Kyoto Station
5min walk from Higashiyama Station, Tozai subway line
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.
See my complete list of hand-picked recommendations for Southern Higashiyama, including things to do, places to eat and places to stay.
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
- 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
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)