Golden Pavilion Kyoto Japan: The Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) is literally covered in gold – gold leaf. The Golden Pavilion is World Heritage listed and surround by beautiful gardens.
Golden Pavilion is the popular name for one of the main buildings of a BuddhistJapanese temple in Kyoto Japan. The name Golden Pavilion comes from the Japanese term Kinkakuji, which literally means the temple of the Golden Pavilion(金閣寺). Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺 Deer Garden Temple) is the formal name of the temple complex in which the Golden Pavilion is found.
Ryoan-ji Temple – Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto is famous for its Zen garden. Ryoan-ji Temple is considered to be one of the most notable examples of the “dry-landscape” style.
Some say Ryoan-ji Temple (竜安寺) garden is the quintessence of Zen art, and perhaps the single greatest masterpiece of Japanese culture. This Japanese temple is surrounded by low walls, an austere arrangement of fifteen rocks sits on a bed of white gravel. That’s it: no trees, no hills, no ponds, and no trickling water. Nothing you could describe as romantic, distracting or pretty.
Daigoji Temple Kyoto and its five storied pagoda are a World Heritage Site and a National Treasure. Daigoji Temple is also famous for its cherry blossom viewing in spring.
Daigoji Temple is the main temple of the Shingon sect Daigo School. Daigoji Temple was founded about mid-9th century with a few simple structures on a mountaintop. In 926 the Kondo (main hall), Gojunoto (five-storied pagoda) and other structures were added. All were destroyed
during various wars with the exception of the pagoda. The temple was rebuilt as a result of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s cherry blossom viewing party in 1598. The Gojunoto, Kondo and Yakushi-do are National Treasures and figure among the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Annual events include the rice-cake -lifting festival on February 23 and Taiko Flower-viewing Procession on the 2nd Sunday in April.
Tokyo Temples – Details on the most popular Tokyo Temples and the elements of Tokyo Temples.
Enryakuji Temple Kyoto is a World Heritage Site and a National Treasure. Enryakuji Temple is a monastery overlooking Kyoto.
Enryaku-ji (延暦寺, Enryaku Temple), a monastery on Mount Hiei overlookingKyoto, was founded during the late eighth and early ninth centuries by Saichō (767–822), also known as Dengyō Daishi, who introduced the Tendai sect toJapan from China. One of the most significant monasteries in Japanese history, it served as (and still is) the headquarters of the Tendai sect, the Buddhist sect that was popular among the aristocracy of the time and served as foundation for a number of later sects including the Pure Land, Zen, and Nichiren sects. Enryakuji Temple is a National Treasures and figure among the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Enryakuji Temple Pagoda – Picture by Kichiverde
Enryakuji Temple History
With the support of the Emperor Kammu, Saichō ordained a hundred disciples in 807. Maintaining a strict discipline on Mt Hiei, his monks lived in seclusion for twelve years of study and meditation. After this period of study, the best students were retained in positions in the monastery, and others graduated into positions in the government and court. At the peak of its power, Enryaku-ji was a huge complex of as many as 3000 sub-temples and a powerful army of warrior monks (僧兵 Sōhei) who were occasionally engaged in power struggles with other monasteries and political leaders. In the tenth century, succession disputes broke out between Tendai monks of the line of Ennin and Enchin. These disputes resulted in opposing Tendai centers at Mount Hiei, the sanmon (山門 Mountain Order) and at Miidera, the jimon (寺門 Temple Order). Warrior monks were used to settle the disputes, and Tendai leaders began to hire mercenary armies who threatened rivals and even marched on the capital to enforce monastic demands.
As part of a program to remove all potential rivals and unite the country, warlord Oda Nobunaga ended this Buddhist militancy in 1571 by attacking and destroying most of Enryaku-ji’s buildings and monks. The current buildings date from the latter half of the 16th century to the first half of the 17th century, when the temple was reconstructed following a change of government.
Today, most of Enryakuji’s attractions consists of three areas: the Tōdō (東塔 East Hall, also the quarters where the former head priest resides), the Saitō (西塔 West Hall, also the abode of a retired head priest from a separate monastery), and the Yokawa (横川). The monastery’s most important buildings are concentrated in the Tōdō.
GINKAKU-JI – SILVER PAVILION
Ginkaku-ji – Silver Pavilion Kyoto Japan. The Silver Pavilion is one of the highlights of any visit to Kyoto. Ginkaku-ji – Silver Pavilion was built in the style of the Golden Pavilion.
Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺, Ginkaku-ji), the ‘Temple of the Silver Pavilion,’ is a Buddhist Japanese Temple in the Higashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan. The temple’s official name is Jishō-ji (慈照寺). It was built in 1474 by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, who sought to emulate theGolden Pavilion Kinkakuji Temple commissioned by his grandfather Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
The Kannon hall is the main building at the temple. It is popularly known as Ginkaku, the Silver Pavilion. The intention was to cover it in silver, but due to the increasing severity of the Onin War, which broke out several years earlier in 1467, construction was halted, and the silver covering never placed on the pavilion. The building, originally intended to be a monument to ostentation, is now taken as an example of Japanese refinement and restraint.
Like Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shogun. During his reign as Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa inspired a new outpouring of traditional culture, which came to be known as Higashiyama Bunka, the Culture of the Eastern Mountain. Having retired to the villa, it is said Yoshimasa sat in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens as the Onin War worsened and Kyotowas burned to the ground. In 1485, Yoshimasa became a Zen Buddhist monk, and after his death the villa became a Buddhist temple, renamed Jishō-ji.
Of all the temple buildings once standing, only the Silver Pavilion remains.
In addition to that building, the temple features wooded grounds covered with a variety of mosses, and a Japanese garden, supposedly designed by the great landscape artist Soami. The rock and sand garden of Ginkaku-ji is particularly famous, and a pile of sand said to symbolize Mount Fuji has now come to be a part of the garden.
Kamigamo Shrine Kyoto – Kamigamo Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is a World Heritage Site.
Kamigamo Shrine, is part of pair of shrines known as the The Kamo Shrines, consisting of Kamigamo Jinja (上賀茂神社, lit. Upper Kamo Shrine) andShimogamo Jinja (下鴨神社, lit. Lower Kamo Shrine). While they are a pair of shrines, they are not located together, but are around 2Km apart. They are among the oldest shrines in the Japan. Both shrines are dedicated to Kamo Wake-ikazuchi, the kami of thunder, and both feature prominently in the Aoi Festival, which occurs in May and involves a procession between the two shrines, horse races, and archery. Along with several other shrines, temples and castles in the city, they figure among the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Kamigamo Shrine (Upper Kamo Shrine) is the more recently founded of the pair, dating most likely from the 7th century. It is famous for its Haiden (worship hall), rebuilt in 1628. A number of priests’ residences are situated on its grounds, and one, the Nishimura House, is open to the public. Kamigamo Shrine is also known as “Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine” (賀茂別雷神社, kamowakeikazuchi jinja).
Its two large conical sand mounds memorialize the holy trees that once served to welcome spirits.
Ninnaji Temple Kyoto is a World Heritage Site and its treasure house contains many National Treasures.
Ninnaji Temple is the main temple of the Omuro School of the Shingon sect. Founded on the orders of Emperor Koko and completed in 888. Emperor Uda became the first abbot of the temple when he retired. His residence was known as Omuro Palace. From then until the Meiji Restoration in 1868 the position of head priest was always taken by a member of the imperial family. Many of the buildings and subordinate temples were lost during the Onin War (1467-1477). Most of the surviving buildings date from the 17th century, and include a five-storey pagoda and a plantation of dwarf cherry trees. The temple itself features some beautifully painted screen walls, and a beautiful walled garden. Ninnaji Temple has many National Treasures and priceless cultural artefacts in its treasure house. Ninnaji Temple is recognised among the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Behind the temple there is a miniature version of the renowned 88-temple pilgrimage in Shikoku.
Address: 33 Ouchi Omuro Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Transport: Keifuku Railway: Omuroninna Station, then 3 min walk; City Bus: Omuro-ninnaji Stop, then 1 min walk.
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 16:30 including most holidays
Cost: Temple ground are free, entry to Omuro Palace is 500 yen.
Tenryuji Temple Tours – A World Heritage Site and one of the most historic site in Kyoto. Tenryuji Temple is the most important Zen Temple in Kyoto.
Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺, Tenryū-ji)—more formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji (天龍資聖禅寺, Tenryū Shiseizen-ji)—is the head temple of the Tenryū sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, located in Susukinobaba-chō, Ukyō Ward, (Arashiyama region), Kyoto,Japan. The temple was founded by Ashikaga Takauji, primarily to venerate Gautama Buddha, and its first chief priest was Musō Soskice. As a temple related to both the Ashikaga family and Emperor Godaigo, the temple is held in high esteem, and is ranked as the most important (Rinzai) Zen temple in Kyoto. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”.
The Sgen Pond (foreground) created by Musō Soseki is one of the highlights in the Tenryuji Temple complex.
Arashiyama is a pleasant, touristy district in the outskirts of Kyoto. Its landmark is the Togetsukyo Bridge which was rebuilt in 1934 exactly like the original. Walk through the Sagano Bamboo Grove, then onto Jojakkoji Temple, final home of Empress Dowager Kenrei-mon-in. Later visit Tenryuji Temple, a leading Zen temple built in 1339 famous for its landscape gardens. Arashiyama is particularly beautiful during the cherry blossom and autumn leaf seasons.
More information and online bookings for this tour.
Tenryuji Temple – Cultural Properties
The “important cultural properties” of Tenryū-ji include:
Three portraits of Musō Soseki, and paintings of Avalokitesvara and Seiryō Hōgen Zenji/Yunmen Daishi
The wooden carving of Gautama Buddha.
Various illustrations and writings in the document archive, such as Shanaingoryō-ezu (遮那院御領絵図, Shanaingoryō-ezu), Ōkoshokyōkanji-no-ezu (往古諸郷館地之絵図, Ōkoshokyōkanji-no-ezu), Ōeikinmyō-ezu (応永鈞命絵図, Ōeikinmyō-ezu), Tōryōeiyo-bakuseki (東陵永與墨蹟, Tōryōeiyo-bakuseki), and various writings of Kitabatake Chikafusa
The garden, created by Musō Soseki, features a circular promenade around Sōgen Pond (曹源池, sōgenchi), and is registered as both a special place of scenic beauty and a historical landmark.
Tenryuji Temple – History
In the early Heian Period, Empress Tachibana no Kachiko, wife of Emperor Saga, founded a temple called Danrin-ji (檀林寺, Danrin-ji) on the site of present-day Tenryū-ji. The temple fell into disrepair over the next four hundred years, before, in the mid-thirteenth century, Emperor Gosaga and his son Emperor Kameyama turned the area into an imperial villa they christened “Kameyama Detatched Palace” (亀山殿, kameyamadono). The name “Kameyama”, which literally means “turtle mountain”, was selected due to the shape of Mt. Ogura, which lies to the west of Tenryū-ji—it is said to be similar to the shape of a turtle’s shell. All Japanese temples constructed after the Nara period have a sangō, a mountain name used as an honorary prefix. Tenryū-ji’s sangō, Reigizan (霊亀山, Reigizan lit. “mountain of the spirit of the turtle”), was also selected due to the shape of Mt. Ogura.
Cherry Blossom in Tenryuji Temple garden
The palace was converted into a temple at the behest of Ashikaga Takauji, who wished to use the temple to hold a memorial service for Emperor Go-daigo. Ashikaga became the shogun in 1338, and Go-daigo died in Yoshino the following year. Ashikaga opposed the failed Kemmu Restoration, which was started by Emperor Go-daigo, and the emperor decreed that Ashikaga should be hunted down and executed. When his former-friend-turned-enemy passed away, Ashikaga recommended that Zen monk Musō Soseki construct a temple for his memorial service. It is said that the temple was originally going to be named Ryakuō Shiseizen-ji (暦応資聖禅寺, Ryakuō Shiseizen-ji), Ryakuō being the name of the reign of the emperor of the northern court at that time. However, Ashikaga Takauji’s younger brother, Tadayoshi supposedly had a dream about a golden dragon flitting about the Ōi River (also known as the Hozu River), which lies south of the temple, and the temple was instead named Tenryū Shiseizen-ji—the term “Tenryū” literally means “dragon of the sky” . In order to raise the funds to build the temple, a trading vessel called “Tenryūjisen” was constructed and set asail. A ceremony was held on the seventh anniversary of Emperor Go-Daigo’s death in 1345, which functioned as both a celebration of the completion of the temple, and as Go-daigo’s memorial.
The temple prospered as the most important Rinzai temple in Kyoto, and the temple grounds grew to roughly 330,000 square meters in size, extending all the way to present-day Katabira-no-Tsuji station on the Keifuku Railway. At one time, the massive grounds were said to contain some 150 sub-temples, however, the temple was plagued with numerous fires, and all of the original buildings have been destroyed. During the middle ages, the temple met with fire six times: in 1358, 1367, 1373, 1380, 1447 and 1467. The temple was destroyed again during the Ōnin War and subsequently rebuilt, but in 1815 it was lost to yet another fire. The temple was severely damaged during the Hamaguri Rebellion in 1864, and most of the buildings as we see them today are reconstructions from the latter half of the Meiji period. The garden to the west of the abbey, created by Musō Soseki, shows only traces of its original design.
The tombs of Emperors Gosaga and Kageyama lie within the temple grounds.
Tenryuji Temple – Layout
On the eastern boundary of the temple grounds lie two gates: Chokushi Gate (勅使門, chokushimon) and Middle Gate (中門, chūmon), from which the path to the temple itself leads west. Generally, Zen temple grounds are designed so that they face the south, with major buildings aligned along the north-south axis. Tenryū-ji’s layout is an exception to this principle. Sub-temples line both sides of the path, which leads to the lecture hall. There are numerous buildings behind the lecture hall, such as large abbey (大方丈, ōhōjō), the small abbey (小方丈, kohōjō), the kitchen, the meditation hall, and Tahō-den (多宝殿, Tahō-den) hall, however, each of these is modern reconstruction.
Chokushi gate is a one-storey gate, constructed in yotsuashimon style. It is the oldest structure on the temple grounds and is representative of the style of the Momoyama Period.
The teaching hall is located at the center of the temple grounds, which is unusual for a Zen temple. The extant version is a 1900 reconstruction. It contains an image of Gautama Buddha, flanked by two guardians. The decorative painting of a dragon on the ceiling called Unryū-zu (雲龍図, Unryū-zu lit. “image of the cloud dragon”) is the work of Suzuki Shōnen.
Ōhōjō was constructed in 1899.
Kohōjō constructed in 1924.
Tahō-den was constructed in 1934. Although it is a modern building, it was constructed in Kamakura Period style. It contains a wooden image of Emperor Go-Daigo.
Toji Temple – Kyoto Japan – A World Heritage Site, the Toji Temple is a Buddhist temple and includes the tallest wooden tower in Japan.
Tō-ji (東寺, Tō-ji) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect in Kyoto, Japan. Its name means East Temple, and it once had a partner, Saiji (West Temple). They stood alongside the Rashomon, the gate to the Heian capital. It is formally known as Kyō-ō-gokoku-ji (教王護国寺, Kyō-ō-gokoku-ji) which indicates that it previously functioned as a temple providing protection for the nation. Tō-ji is located in Minami-ku near the intersection of Ōmiya Street and Kujō Street, southwest of Kyoto Station.
Although often associated with the famous priest Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai), Tō-ji was established in 796 A.D., two years after the capital moved to Heian-kyō. Kūkai was put in charge of Tō-ji in 823 A.D. by order of Emperor Saga. Its principal image is of Yakushi Nyorai, the healing Buddha.
The pagoda of Tō-ji stands 57 m high, and is the tallest wooden tower in Japan. It dates from the Edo period, when it was rebuilt by order of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu. The pagoda has been, and continues to be, a symbol of Kyoto. Entrance into the pagoda itself is permitted only a few days a year.
The buildings at Tō-ji house a variety of ancient Buddhist sculpture. The grounds feature a garden and pond, in which turtles and koi swim. The grounds also house an academically rigorous private school, Rakunan, from which many students are sent to elite universities.
Recognizing the historical and spiritual significance of Tō-ji, UNESCO designated it, along with several other treasures in Kyoto Prefecture, as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” World Heritage Site.