Nanzen-ji Temple's Sanmon Gate (1/9)
Nanzen-ji Aqueduct (2/9)
Nanzenin Temple in Nanzen-ji Temple (3/9)
Eikando Temple (4/9)
Eikando Temple's Hojo Pond (5/9)
Eikando Temple (6/9)
Eikando Temple (7/9)
Eikando Temple's Garyuro corridor (8/9)
Eikando's Views (9/9)


Historic architecture in harmony with the scenery


Nanzen-ji Temple

Free 9:00 - 17:00

Nanzen-ji is a Zen temple located at the base of Higashiyama, in eastern Kyoto, which is the headquarters of the Nanzen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen and is considered as one of the most important Zen temples of Japan. It was created from a private residence of the Emperor in 1291, but was destroyed by fire in several occasions. The present temple was rebuilt in 1597 and expanded in the Edo era.

Nanzen-ji is a large complex formed by several structures and sub-temples, some of which require paying a fee while the temple's grounds can be explored for free. The entrance is marked by the massive two storied Sanmon Gate, which reaches a height of 22 meters and dates from the 17th century. Visitors can enjoy the views from its second floor by paying a fee of 500 Yen.

The grounds include a large stone aqueduct dating from 1890, which provides a rather unusual sight for a temple. It was constructed to bring water from lake Biwa to Kyoto and measures 93 meters long and 14 meters high. Behind the aqueduct lies the Nanzenin, a small sub-temple form the 13th century, centered around a beautiful and relaxing pond garden. The entrance to Nanzenin costs 300 Yen.

The Hojo, or the abbot's headquarters, is located towards the end of the compound and is Nanzen-ji's main hall. It is well known for its 17th century stone garden, formed by six stones placed over white sand which are said to represent a tiger and her cubs crossing the river. A fee of 500Yen is charged to enter the Hojo.

Eikando Temple

600-1000¥ 9:00 - 17:00

Eikando, also known as Zenrin-ji, is a Buddhist temple founded in the 9th century and the headquarters of the Jodoshu Seizan Zenrin-ji sect. It was burnt down in the 15th century, during the Onin War, but was restored in the early 16th century. Eikando is best known for its evening illuminations and its beautiful colors in autumn, when the entrance fee is risen from 600 to 1000 Yen.

The temple is formed by a varied group of buildings connected by impressive wooden corridors and set in a beautiful garden with a large pond. The Amida-do is the largest hall in the complex and houses the temple's main object of worship: a 30 inch statue of Amida which is known as the Mikaeri Amida, or Turning Amida, for its unusual posture facing right instead of forward.

The Taho-To, a two storied pagoda with a circular upper part on top of a squared base, is Eikando's most recognizable structure. Set on the temple's highest point, on the slope of Higashiyama mountains, it offers impressive panoramic views of Kyoto.


Bus no. 5,57


Both Nanzen-ji and Eikando temples can be reached in a 5 minute walk from Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop.