Chion-in Temple (知恩院)

Chion-in Temple is the head temple of the Jodo sect. Chion-in Temple is where Honen, the founder of the Jodo sect, established a hermitage in 1175 and began to propagate Nembutsu (the recitation of the Nembutsu prayer). In the Edo period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hidetada, and Iemitsu built the present main hall, Sanmon gate, and other grand buildings as the family shrine of the Tokugawa shoguns who were followers of the Jodo sect.

Temple’s official WEB site

Chion-in architecture

The magnificent temple complex of Chion-in in Higashiyama, Kyoto, includes the national treasures Sanmon and Mikagedo, the important cultural properties Seishi-do and the large bell tower, as well as the elegant garden and the Seven Wonders, which have been handed down from generation to generation.

Sanmon Gate of Chion-in Temple
Sanmon Gate, one of the largest gates in Kyoto

Nearby spots

Shorenin Temple, next to Chion-in Temple, is a monzeki temple dating from the Heian period.

Maruyama Park and Yasaka Jinja shrine is just next to temple’s large sanmon gate. Gion area is also within a few minutes walk.

If you pass Maruyama Park and follow the narrow path called Nene-no-michi, you will come to Kodaiji Temple. Nene, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, spent her last years in this area. The garden of Kodaiji Temple is also a must-see.

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