Kennin-ji Temple

Kennin-ji Temple © Iry

Kennin-ji Temple

The Kennin-ji temple is Kyoto’s very first Zen temple, founded by Zen Master Yousai, the father of Japanese Buddhism, in 1202, and is the head temple of the Rinzai Buddhist sect. During the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) it held the third place among the great Zen temples in Kyoto and was generously protected. It was devastated in a war but was rebuilt in the Tensho years (1573-1592) by Ankokuji Ekei. The Hojo here is important cultural property that has been relocated from Ankokuji in Hiroshima Prefecture. There is also a dry landscape garden paved with white sand.

Souryuzu and Fujin-Raijin

In Kennin-ji reside the famous works of art in the sermon hall such as the Souryuzu, which is a massive painting by Koizumi Junsaku that stretches 11.4m x 15.7m, depicting two huge dragons.

There is also the masterpiece "Fujin Raijin" in the large drawing room on a folding screen, made by Sotatsu Tawaraya. This is made with gold leaf and is a very uplifting image, a must-see.

Yousai’s tea habit

Yousai brought back the tea customs of the Song Dynasty, and is famous for spreading tea ceremonies that were reserved for high society to common people. In Buddhist memorial services that commemorate the birth of Yousai, a Zen tea ceremony is held. There is also a tea house "Toyobo" in the nearby area as well.


On the Keihan train line get off on Gion Shijo Station (祇園四条駅)and walk 7 minutes, or the Hankyu line’s Kawaramachi Station (河原町駅) for 10 minutes. At the JR Kyoto station (京都駅) you can take the Higashiyama Yasui bus and get off at the Minamiza bus stop (南座前) which is 5 minutes away from the shrine, or the Gion (祇園) or Shimizu Road (清水道) stations which are 10 minutes away

Admission from 11/1 to 2/28 is 30-minutes shorter so please be careful. Additionally, from 12/28-31 it is closed.

Image Gallery: Kennin-ji Temple

Description: Kennin-ji Temple

Sights Kennin-ji Temple (建仁寺)
Address komatsu-cho, shijosagaru, yamatoooji, higashimaya-ku, kyouto-shi, kyouto 605-0933
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-561-6363
Duration 30Minutes
Business Hours Monday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Tuesday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Wednesday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Thursday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Friday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Saturday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Sunday:10:00-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:30)
Admission Fee Pay admission: 500yen
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: Kennin-ji Temple