Nanzen-ji (lit. "Southern Zen Temple") is the head temple of the Nanzenji school of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and is the presiding temples of the Kyōto Gozan, the "Five Great Zen Temples of Kyōto"...Read more
Kiyomizu-dera (literally "Pure Water Temple") is well-known landmark of Kyōto and one of the most popular temples for visitors in Japan. The temple's beauty is best appreciated during the cherry-blossom and autumn foliage seasons....Read more
Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion, lying at the foot of Kyōto's Higashiyama, is the more common name for the Tōzan Jishō-ji Temple. In 1460, shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa ordered the construction of a retirement villa...Read more
Sanjūsangen-dō is a temple of the Tendai school of Buddhism run by the Myōhō-in Temple. Sanjusangen-dō means the "Hall of the 33 spaces", referring to bays between the pillars of the elungated edifice. Its (seldom used) official name is...Read more
Gion is Japan's prime geisha district and consequently also Kyōto's most famous (and best preserved) traditional neighbourhood. Gion originally developed as a place to accommodate the needs of travellers and visitors to the nearby...Read more
Heian-jingū is a three-fourth scale reconstitution of the Heian-period Imperial Palace. It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyōto. It is dedicated to Emperor Kammu (737-806)...Read more
Chion-in is the Grand Head Temple atop 7 other head temples of the popular Jōdō ("Pure Land") sect of Buddhism, making it one of the most important spritual places in Japan. The temple was established in 1234 on the site where Hōnen...Read more
Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen temple in Kyōto. It is the head of 70 associated temples throughout Japan. Kennin-ji's precincts comprise 14 subtemples and two Zen gardens. Kennin-ji was founded in 1202 by the priest Eisai (1141-1215)...Read more
Kodaiji was established in 1606 by Nene, the widow of the great general Toyotomi Hideyoshi, as a shrine for her late husband. Kodaiji belongs to the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, and is well-known for its rock garden and its autumn leaves.
Shorenin was once the city residence of the imperial abbot of the Tendai headquarters on Mount Hiei. As a monzeki temple, its head priests were traditionally chosen among members of the imperial family. The garden possesses two massive...Read more
Founded in 853 as a Shingon temple, Zenrinji turned into a Jōdo temple in the 12th century. Set on hilly grounds near Nanzenji, it is one of Kyoto's most famous spots for autumn colours, further enhanced by the illumination of the Tahōtō...Read more
Shisendō is a delightful little temple in the northern part of the Higashi-yama mountains. It was built in 1641 by the poet Ishikawa Jōzan (1583-1672) as a moutain retreat for hermits. It now belongs to the Sōtō sect of Zen Buddhism...Read more
Maruyama Koen sits on a slope at the end of Shijō-dōri Avenue, in the middle of the Higashi-yama district. The park one of Kyoto's most obvious landmarks for sightseers and is adjacent to the Gion geisha district, the Yasaka-jinja Shrine...Read more
The so-called "Philosopher's Path" or "Path of Philosophy" (Tetsugaku no michi in Japanese) is a 2 km long pedestrian path that follows a cherry-tree-lined canal in the Higashiyama district of Kyōto. The path starts near Nanzen-ji Temple...Read more
Founded in 984 by Kaisan, this temple of the Tendai is more commonly known as the Shinnyo-dō. The powerful Mitsui family of industrialists has sponsored the temple since the 18th century, and many of its members are buried here.
Also known as Kurodani-san (Mt Black Valley), Konkai-Komyoji is one of the head temples of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism, along with Chion-in. The vast precincts boast an impressive three-storied gate (San-mon) and an extensive main hall.
Hokoji was founded in 1586 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who wanted to endow Kyoto with Daibutsu temple surpassing that of Nara. Completed in 1589, the Giant Buddha statue and its hall were regrettably destroyed by an earthquake in 1596. The temple fatefully burnt in 1602 during reconstruction, and in 1610 great bells were cast with the bronze of the destroyed Giant Buddha.
A Shingon temple founded by Kūya in 951, Rokuharamitsuji houses a number of statues of the Heian and Kamakura periods that have been designated Important Cultural Properties, including a Heian-era Jūichimen Kannon, which was designated a National Treasure.
Established in 1897, the Kyoto National Museum is one of the three former Imperial museums in Japan, and the most important museum in the city today. The permanent collection (closed for renovation until 2013) displays art treasures privately owned by temples and shrines, as well as items donated by the Imperial Household Ministry. Altogether, the museum houses over 12,000 works, half of which are on display. 230 items were designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.
This wide-ranging art museum was inaugurated in 1933 in commemoration of Emperor Hirohito's ascend to the throne, and was originally named 'Showa Imperial Coronation Art Museum of Kyoto'. Exhibits include Japanese works from the Heian period to modern times, with a particular focus on modern and contemporary art. There are also large sections on Western art and temporary exhibitions.
Known in English as the MoMAK (National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto), the museum is devoted to 20th century Japanese art, including Japanese-style paintings of the Kyoto School. Exhibits from the permanent collection change every two months.