Nanzenji Temple (南禅寺)

Discover the timeless allure of Nanzenji Temple in Kyoto, founded in 1291 by Hōhō Kameyama. Renowned in the Zen sect, the temple’s vast Sanmon Gate, an important cultural property, impresses upon arrival. Ascend to its upper floor for panoramic views of Kyoto. Free entry to the temple grounds unveils captivating scenes—cherry blossoms in spring, green maples in summer, and a breathtaking display of autumn leaves. Explore the famous Suirokaku waterway and nearby sub-temples like Saishoin and Nanzenin, each offering unique natural wonders. Immerse yourself in Kyoto’s spiritual and scenic treasures, making Nanzenji a must-visit destination for every traveler.

Nanzenji Temple was founded in 1291 by Hōhō Kameyama with Daimin Kokushi as its master. And this temple is regarded as one of the most prestigious temples in the Zen sect. Upon entering the temple grounds, one is first surprised by the size of the Sanmon Gate, an important cultural property. This is the place where Ishikawa Goemon shouted in the Kabuki play, “It’s a great view!”

Temple’s official WEB site

Nanzenji Sanmon Gate
Sanmon Gate

You can even climb to the top of the temple gate. Although you cannot enter the interior of the second floor of the San-mon gate, you can see the scenery of Kyoto from a high vantage point.

Nanzenji Sanmon Gate
Sanmon Gate

The temple is popular not only for cherry blossoms in spring, green maples in early summer, and autumn leaves in fall, but also as a cooling spot in summer. However, it is particularly beautiful with autumn leaves. Gradations of yellow, orange, and red color the entire area around this temple.

Entry to the temple grounds is free. However, there is a fee to visit the Sanmon Gate, Hojo Garden, and Nanzen-in Temple (a sub-temple).

The famous Suirokaku (waterway) runs through the temple grounds. It adds colors to the temple.

Nanzenji Suirokaku
Suirokaku (November)

Model courses to visit Nanzenji Temple

The Kyoto Gozan are important temples of the Rinzai sect in Kyoto. They include, from highest rank, Tenryuji TempleShokokuji TempleKenninji TempleTofukuji Temple, and Manjuji Temple. And the Nanzenji Temple is the sixth but specially ranked temple.

Nearby spots

There are several sub-temples which are open to the public.

Saishoin Temple is a quiet temple surrounded by trees. So visitors can enjoy nature in every season. Particularly, the autumn leaves of this temple are beautiful.

Nanzenin Temple is where Nanzenji started initially.

Nestled within Kyoto’s historic treasures, Konchi-in Temple, a sub-temple of Nanzenji, is a haven of rich history and cultural significance.

Tenju-an Temple is another sub-temple. It’s famous for autumn leaves and fresh green leaves in early summer.

If you are visiting Kyoto for the first time, Eikando Temple is a must-see. It is especially beautiful during the season of fresh green and autumn leaves.

Related articles:

  1. […] a short distance from Nanzenji Temple is Zenrinji Temple, famous for its Eikando Hall. The temple was originally the Higashiyama Villa of […]

  2. […] Path is a beautiful 2-kilometer walkway that connects Ginkakuji Temple and Nanzenji Temple. The street is not officially named “Philosopher’s Path. The name is familiar because […]

  3. […] rank, Tenryuji Temple, Shokokuji Temple, Kenninji Temple, Tofukuji Temple, and Manjuji Temple, with Nanzenji Temple as the specially ranked […]

  4. […] moved to Nijo Castle after Fushimi Castle was closed. Later, it was moved to the Kanjiin Temple of Nanzenji Temple. In 1880, it was again moved to its present location when the Toyokuni Jinja was […]

  5. […] imperial princesses served as chief priests. It is a Rinzai sect temple belonging to the nearby Nanzenji Temple. This temple, also known as the “Palace of the Valley,” retains its prestigious […]

  6. […] the Nanzenji temple grounds, pass through the Suirokaku (Waterway Pavilion) and continue north to Saishoin Temple. It […]

  7. […] Temple, nestled on a hill from Nanzenji Temple, Kyoto, bears historical significance as the former detached palace of Emperor Kameyama, who […]

  8. […] Nanzenji Temple captivates with a vast Sanmon Gate and seasonal beauty. Nanzenji Temple and its sub-temples are Kyoto essential for all. […]

  9. […] was a high priest who had served as the 64th head monk of Tenryuji Temple, the 96th head monk of Nanzenji Temple, and the 80th head monk of Tofukuji […]

  10. […] Eikando is about 5-minute walk towards Nanzenji Temple. […]

  11. […] Temple, a sub-temple of Nanzenji Temple, is a historic Zen temple in the Sakyo Ward of Kyoto City. It belongs to the Rinzai sect’s […]