Eikando Temple (Zenrin-ji Temple)

Eikando Temple (Zenrin-ji Temple) © Iry


Home to the famous Eikando autumn leaves and the Mikaeri Amida, its proper name is Zenrin-ji, it is the head temple of the Seizan branch of Japan’s Jodo-shu Buddhist sect, located in Kyoto. The temple was originally founded in 853 by the monk Shinsho as a temple of the Shingon Sect, but during the 11th century the head monk Yokan (or Eikan) caused it to shift wards Jodo-shu. The temple houses the national treasure the Yamakoshi Amida among others, and has held many Buddhist paintings since the Kamakura period (1185-1333)

The Mikaeri Amida

In Eikando is housed a wooden Buddha statue called the Mikaeri Amida, which is thought to have been constructed sometime between the late Heian period (794-1185) and the early Kamakura period. It gets its name from the fact that, unlike most Buddha statues that look straight forward, it is looking over its shoulder. According to legend, one time Eikan was conducting a ritual around the statue, and the statue suddenly came to life, turned its head and spoke, saying "Eikan you are slow", and the statue’s head has remained in that position ever since. In addition to the Buddha, there is also a corridor which is crooked due to the slope of the mountain called "Garyou-rou".

Well-known red leaves of the temple Eikan-do in Kyoto

Eikando is also known for its autumn leaves, there are about 3,000 maple trees that turn spectacular colors in the fall. There is a light-up during this period at night, running from November to December, from 17:30 to 21:00. The buildings lit up at night are fantastic sights to see. You have to visit there at least 30 minutes before the closing time.


From JR Kyoto Station (京都駅) take the city bus to the Nanzen Eikan-do (南禅寺永観堂道) stop and get off, and walk 3 minutes there. You can also take the Higashiten’no-cho stop (東天王町) and walk 8 minutes. By station the closest station is Keage Station (蹴上駅) which is a 15 minute walk. It’s close to the Philosopher’s Walk, and if you go straight south you can visit Nanzen-ji temple.

Image Gallery: Eikando Temple (Zenrin-ji Temple)

Description: Eikando Temple (Zenrin-ji Temple)

Sights Eikando Temple (Zenrin-ji Temple) (永観堂 (禅林寺))
Address 48 eikandou-cho, sakyo-ku, kyouto-shi, kyouto 666-8445
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-761-0007 / Fax: 075-771-4243
Duration 40Minutes
Business Hours Monday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Tuesday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Wednesday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Thursday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Friday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Saturday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Sunday:09:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Pay admission: 600yen
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: Eikando Temple (Zenrin-ji Temple)