Chorakuji Temple (長楽寺), Kyoto

Chorakuji, a captivating temple in Kyoto, beckons foreign tourists with its enchanting blend of history and spirituality. Nestled amidst Kyoto’s picturesque landscapes, Chorakuji boasts awe-inspiring architecture and serene gardens. Visitors are invited to explore the rich tapestry of Japanese culture through the temple’s symbolic elements and ancient rituals. The tranquil ambiance provides a unique opportunity for cultural immersion, offering a serene escape from the bustle of modern life. Chorakuji stands as a living testament to Kyoto’s historical charm, inviting international travelers to discover the beauty and tranquility that define this remarkable temple in the heart of Japan’s cultural capital.


Chorakuji Temple is located east of Yasaka Jinja Shrine, up the hill from Maruyama Park. It has a long history. In 805 Dengyo Daishi (a great Buddhist priest) created the temple at the order of Emperor Kanmu. It was originally a branch temple of Hieizan Enryakuji Temple of the Tendai sect. Later, in the early Muromachi period, it became a branch of the Jishu sect.

In addition, this temple was originally a large temple with a vast temple area that included most of Maruyama Park. However, during the Edo period, the temple ceded its precincts when the adjacent Otani Mausoleum was built. In the early Meiji period, the government took most of the temple grounds and created the Maruyama Park.

The temple garden was created by Soami during the Muromachi period. It was a prototype of the garden for Ginkakuji Temple. Today, however, the condition seems not so well maintained due to the construction and renovation works on adjacent land.

Garden by Soami

In the repository are seven statues of Yugyo Shonin including Ippen Shonin, by the Kei school engravers. Ippen Shonin is the founder of the Jishu sect. Many of the wooden statues are important cultural properties. Though, the most famous Ippen Shonin statue is in the Rokuharamitsuji Temple.

Temple’s Official WEB site


At the end of the Heian period, Kenreimonin Tokuko shaved her hair here to become a nun. She was the daughter of Taira no Kiyomori and wife of Emperor Takakura. There is a stone pagoda enshrining Kenreimonin in the temple grounds. Later, Kenreimonin spent the rest of her life at Jakkoin Temple in Ohara.

Kenreimonin Pagoda in Chorakuji

Nearby spots from Chorakuji Temple

Down the hill is iconic Yasaka Jinja Shrine. There, many buildings are national treasures and important cultural properties. And beyond the vermilion-lacquered gate of the shrine is the Gion area.

Kodaiji Temple is between the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka Jinja Shrine, up the mountain side from a path called Nene-no-michi.

Although there is not much to see in Anyoji Temple, the temple has a long history. It was built by Saicho during the Enryaku era (782 – 806).

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