Having lived in Osaka for 16 years and been to Kyoto many times as a tourist as well as guiding friends or relatives around Kyoto we thought we would share our favourite temples in this area.
The choice was difficult as the city as over 1600 temples. That makes it difficult for a foreigner to chose which is the best one for them to visit. Of course if you don’t visit these ones you’ll still have an amazing time searching and looking at the other fine temples that Kyoto has but we think these are the best.
We chose three that were all diverse from one another. One includes hiking, one includes quirky stone sculptures and the other for its historical background that is convenient to travellers who are staying in and around the main area of Kyoto.
What they do have in common are they are all unique far different from any of the temples or shrines. I guess that is why we consider them so special.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari shrine is located a short train ride from JR Kyoto. Exit at JR Inari station. Two stops from Kyoto station 140¥
It’s open all year round free admission
The highlight of this shrine is the row of symmetrical tori gates that lead up to the summit of the mountain overlooking views of Kyoto. These tori gates are sponsored by companies for 400,000¥ for small gates and up to 1 million yen for larger ones. The sponsors names are engraved on each tori gate. The hike up the top of the mountain takes about two hours.
Overview of the shrine
The Fushimi Inari shrine is the most important of several thousands of shrines which are dedicated to the deity of rice. The shrine has ancient origins, as it predates Kyoto’s move to be capital of Japan in 794.
The shrine has many statues of foxes, as they are thought to be Inari’s messengers.
Fushimi Inari shrine
Lucky tags, you write on here your wish.
Tori gates which one do I take
The tori gates here have their have sculptures of the foxes
Views of the Kyoto from the summit of Mount Inari
Sanjusangendo is located in the east of Kyoto about a 20 minute walk from the JR Kyoto station.
HOURS 8:00 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 from November 16 to March 31)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
CLOSED No closing days
FEES 600 yen
The large wooden Buddha that sits in the front of the hall with 500 statues of human sized golden Kannons flanked on either size.
Overview of the temple
The temple is the longest wooden building in Japan stretching 120 metres. The temple is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire.
1000-armed Kannon are equipped with 11 heads to witness the suffering of humans and with 1000 arms to better help them fight the suffering.
Taro the sculptor was 82 years old when he sculptured the kannon.
Otagi Nenbutsu ji Temple
We have only been to this temple once about two weeks ago but it already has become one of our favourites.
This temple is located in Arasiyama, a beautiful area of Kyoto that you could easily fill a day exploring.
8:00am to 17:00pm
The cool 1200 sculptures found around the grounds. Some of them are very cute.
Overview of the temple
The temple has been built and rebuilt numerous times due to natural disasters.
In 1955 a sculptor who was also a Buddhist monk himself started sculpturing the Rakan dolls. The grounds became overgrown again and between 1981 to 1991 full restoration began again. The worshippers who gave their support and prayers to the restoration sculptured over 1200 stone figures.
The best thing in Arashiyama is the traditional lane filled with tea houses just down the road.
Some 1200 Rakan sculptures
Have you been to Kyoto? Leave a comment in the box below and tell us what’s your favourite temple.