Kenninji – one of the oldest Zen temples in Japan


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It was built in 1202. Kenninji is also close to the Higashiyama mountains and the Kamogawa river in the middle of the Gion. It was founded by the monk Yousai/Eisai who is known for the introducing the Zen sect of Buddhism to Japan. He is also seen as the founder of the Japanese tea ceremony. There are three branches of Zen in Japan – the Rinzai, Soutou and Oubaku schools. Kenninji belongs to the Rinzai school.Inside the temple is a majestic and tranquil area with an 800 year history of spreading zen buddhism. It also boasts a Japanese style landscape garden made of white sand. It gives off a sense of beauty and simplicity.




・The Wild and Thunder Gods
Kenninji is also famous for housing one of Japan’s national treasures – Tawaraya Soutatsu’s painting, Fuujin-Raijin-zu.



The ” 〇△□ garden” is a square garden whose design is based on the famous calligraphic work by Sengai Gibon. The idea behind the “circle, triangle, square” is that all things in this universe are represented by these forms.




・Twin Dragons
Another famous feature is the twin dragon painting on the ceiling. It measures 11.4m by 15.7m (the size of 108 tatami mats) and commemorates the 800 year anniversary of Kenninji’s founding. Even after 800 years Kenninji still continues to spread the teachings of zen buddhism.


Do you know Zen meditation? Kenninji temples hold zazen meetings. You will to be able to experience Zen meeting.
Please refer to the Kenninji information office when you would love to participate in that. (Cannot be booked in advance.)



・Worship fee
General 500 yen
Junior high / high school student 300 yen

・Worship period / time
March 1 – October 31
10 am – 4:30 pm (closing gate at 5 pm)

・November 1 – February 28
10 am – 4 pm (closing gate at 4:30 pm)

・Close period    December 28 – December 31


Keihan Train, Gyoen Shijo Sta.(7minutes on foot) 
Hankyu Train, Kawaramachi Sta.(10minutes on foot)

・Take a taxi
· About 10 minutes by taxi from JR Kyoto Station

・Take a Bus
· From JR Kyoto Station City Busses 206 lines · 100 lines
· 5 minutes on foot from city bus “Higashiyama Yasui”
· 7 minutes on foot from the city bus “Nanzae front”
· 10 minutes on foot from city bus “Gion”
· 10 minutes on foot from “Shimizudo”

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