Gioji Temple (祇王寺)

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According to the Tale of the Heike and the Genpei Seisuki, Gioji Temple is where Shirabyoshi (dancer) Gio became a nun at the then Saga Oujoin Temple along with his mother Toji and sister Kojo. Taira no Kiyomori once favored her but later treated her coldly. That’s why Gio decided to become a nun.

The altar in the hermitage houses the image of Dainichi Nyorai, Gion, Tojo, mother Tojo, Hotokegozen, and Taira no Kiyomori. The statues of Gion and Tojo were from the late Kamakura period. The artist of the statues is unknown, but their crystal eyes are characteristic of the Kamakura period.

Statues of Gio and Taira-no-Kiyomori

Once abandoned and in ruins, but Daikakuji Temple protected the remaining Buddhist statues and tombs. In the Meiji era (1868-1912), a hermitage was built and the temple became Gioji Temple.

Temple official WEB site

It is a beautiful temple with moss and green trees. Summer is the most beautiful season for fresh greenery. It is all green, with young bamboo quietly flowing and the cicada chirping echoing in the air. In autumn, deep red beautifully covers the whole area.

This temple is also famous for its beautiful autumn foliage. There are many temples with beautiful gardens in Sagano. So you can be visit them at the same time.

Tour courses to visit Gioji Temple

We recommend that you start walking from Arashiyama, pass Tenryuji Temple and other places, and visit beautiful temples in Sagano.

Nearby spots

If you are in Arashiyama or Sagano, head to Daikakuji Temple as well. Daikakuji temple used to be a palace in Heian period. It’s worth visiting.

Takiguchidera Temple is famous for a sad love episode in late Heian period. Despite the proximity to Gioji Temple, not many tourists visit this temple. The entrance to this temple is located just off Gioji Temple.

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