Chion-in Temple, Kyoto

Chion-in Temple, Kyoto

Just north of Yasaka-jinja and Maruyama Park, and a brisk 8-minute stroll north of Kōdai-ji, lies the colossal temple known colloquially as the "Vatican of Pure Land Buddhism". As the head temple of the Jōdo sect, this grand complex, a National Treasure of Japan, rivals its Roman Catholic counterpart in sheer scale.

The monumental front staircase has graced the silver screen, making notable appearances in both "The Last Samurai" and "Lost in Translation". But the true marvel awaits at the impressive Sanmon gate, where visitors can admire an unparalleled display of joinery. Standing tall at 24 meters and spanning 50 meters wide, it reigns as the country's largest wooden gate, a true architectural marvel.

Beyond the gate lies the heart of the temple, a sprawling courtyard crisscrossed by intricate stone pathways. The Miei-dō, or Main Hall, welcomes all with its free admission, housing an impressive effigy of Hōnen, the revered priest who laid the foundations of the Jōdo sect. Nearby, the Amida-dō, or Amida Hall, showcases a splendid visage of the central figure in Pure Land Buddhism, revered for creating a celestial realm where faithful chanters are warmly embraced. Further exploration within the temple's confines requires admission fees.

Tip:
Delve deeper, and you'll encounter two hidden treasures. Yūzen-en, a serene rock garden with a tranquil pond, graces the southeast of the Sanmon gate, while Hōjō-en, a timeless landscape garden dating back to the mid-17th century, lies east of the Main Hall. For an immersive experience, visitors can opt to explore both gardens (open until 4 PM) at a discounted rate.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Kyoto. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Chion-in Temple on Map

Sight Name: Chion-in Temple
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan (See walking tours in Kyoto)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

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Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

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