Chion-in Temple

Chion-in Temple © Iry

About Chion-in Temple

Chion-in is the head temple of the Jodo Buddhist sect and its origins come from when Honen built a thatched hut in Yoshimizu-no-chi. As Jodo’s founder, Honen proclaimed that by intently chanting the Amida’s name, all sentient beings could be reborn in the Amida Buddha’s Western Paradise. After Honen’s death, his disciple Genchi built a temple using his hut as a foundation, and due to patronage from many generations of the shogunate of the Edo era, including Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hidatada, and Iemitsu, it came to be a glorious temple. On the grounds are numerous national treasures, including the Miedo and Sanmon. There are also important cultural properties on the site, such as Seshido and the Honen Shonin Mido.

The shrine’s main building is Miedo which has an image enshrining Honen, but the main building burned down at one point in the past and Tokugawa Iemitsu rebuilt it. Also, the Sanmon was built during the lifetime of Hidetada Tokugawa in 1621 and is Japan’s largest set of wooden double gates. They stand at 24m high and 50m wide, and the structure uses about 70,000 roof tiles. The origin of the name is the Buddhist concept "Sangedatsu-mon", or the three gates of enlightenment.

The Seven Wonders of Chion-in Temple

Since ancient times the temple has been known for its "Seven Wonders". For example there is the Nightingale Corridor which is a corridor that extends 550m from the temple, and has the distinct sound of a nightingale calling when you walk on it (this was a warning device for intruders in ancient times). Behind the eaves on the front of the temple there is the "forgotten umbrella" which is just a stump now, and there’s also the  Nukesuzume (birds flying away) painting on the sliding fusuma doors in the Kiku-no-ma. The temple is currently undergoing major repairs and so there are a number of the wonders that cannot be seen, but the Honen Mido has implemented exhibition panels that describe all seven of them.


From  Kyoto Station take a bus to Chion-in Eki-mae (知恩院駅前) and from there it’s a 5 minute walk. By taxi it will take you 15 minutes to get there. By subway take the Tozai Line to Higashiyama Station (東山駅) and from there it is 8 minutes on foot.

Image Gallery: Chion-in Temple

Description: Chion-in Temple

Sights Chion-in Temple (知恩院)
Address 400 Rinkachō, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-531-2111 / Fax: 075-531-0099
Duration 1Hour(s)
Business Hours Monday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Tuesday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Wednesday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Thursday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Friday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Saturday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Sunday:09:00-16:30 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Admission Fee Pay admission: 300yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Chion-in Temple