Ninna-ji is the head temple of the Omuro School of Shingon Buddhism, a world heritage site. In 886 Emperor Koko ordered it built but never saw it completed, and so his son Uda saw it completed in 888. Uda retired and become a priest of Ninna-ji and set up the Omuro (a priest’s temple quarters), and from then on the entire region was known as Omuro.
The priests followed his lineage from generation to generation up until the 1867 Meiji Restoration, and the highest among the priests had the distinction of serving here at the head temple. The buildings were mostly destroyed in the Onin war that began in 1467 and lasted for ten years, and the temple was later rebuilt in 1646.
The cherry trees here are famous. Originally they were only allowed to be seen by noble people, but now it is open to anyone ever since the Edo period (1603- 1868), and is a popular spot for cherry blossom gazing, and it even appeared in a number of famous Japanese poems. They are late blooming cherry trees that appear in mid-April, so you need to time your visit right. The cherries are short and you can see their blooms up close. There are about 200 cherries in the temple.
The old Kyoto Imperial Palace buildings
The Shishinden of the old Kyoto Imperial Palace serves as the main temple building here, and it has been designated as a national treasure. There is a very large variety of old buildings from the Kyoto Imperial Palace here, including the Seiryouden, Nioumon, the tearoom, and more. At the Reiho-kan you can see various cultural heritage objects including three important Buddha stations of the time, known as the Amida-san-zon-zou.
There are accommodations on the premises, including room service and the ability to take part in Otsutome (Buddhist religious ceremony), and you can take a special visit to the private part of the inner temple.
Nearby there is also a course known as Shikoku’s 88 hallowed grounds, and a few times throughout the year there is a walking rally held that goes about 2 hours over 3km.
From JR Kyoto Station it’s 30 minutes by JR Bus and 40min by city bus. Get off at the Omuro-Ninna-ji Station (御室仁和寺駅) bus stop and walk 3 minutes. There is also Sanjo Keihan Station (三条京阪駅) and Omiya Station(大宮駅) that have city buses that will take you there in 30-40min.
You can also use the Arashi-den railway (Keifuku Railway), the Kitano Line’s Omuro-Ninna-ji station is a 2 minute walk away (御室仁和寺駅). There is parking for about 120 cars and it’s a good idea to use this because public transit will be crowded. Please note that during the cherry blossom season you must pay a fee to enter. From December until February it is open until 16:30, last admissions allowed at 16:00.
Image Gallery: Ninna-ji Temple
Description: Ninna-ji Temple
|Sights||Ninna-ji Temple (仁和寺)|
33, Omurouchi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 075-461-1155 / Fax: 075-464-4070|
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: Ninna-ji Temple