Nanzen-ji Temple

Kyoto, Kansai

A historic temple with a distinctive Japanese rock garden.

The great temple of Nanzen-ji was converted from a residence of the Emperor at the end of the 13th century. It was destroyed by fire during subsequent internal disturbances, but was rebuilt in the first part of the Edo Period. The gate at the entrance to the temple, which reaches a height of 22 m., was rebuilt at the beginning of the 17th century. The chamber of the residence of the chief priest of this temple was built at the end of the 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was the supreme ruler of Japan at the time. The architectural style of this residence is called Shinden-zukuri. The 124 paintings on the sliding screen doors inside the residence are of the Kano-school of Japanese painting, and designated by the national government as Important Cultural Properties.

Hojo Garden, which is adjacent to the residence of the chief priest, is of the Karesansui-style (Japanese rock garden of only stones and white sand). The garden is surrounded by the Tsuiji wall (Mud wall with a tiled roof), with six stones placed by the wall on white sand, and is said to have been made by Kobori Enshu. The stones are systematically connected and separated one by one, and its unique and outstanding arrangement is famously known as “a mother tiger and her cubs crossing the river.”


Nanzenji Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Admission Fee
Free in the temple precincts
Hojo Garden: 500 yen (regular fee)
Sanmon Gate: 500 yen (regular fee)
Nanzen-in: 300 yen (regular fee)
Dec. 28-31
[Bus]JR Kyoto Stn./Bus/25-min. ride/Nanzenji Eikando-michi/8-min. walk

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