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Myoshin-ji Temple
Myoshin-ji Temple

Myoshin-ji Temple

In the early 14th century, Japanese Emperor Hanazono abdicated to become a monk, turning his palace into what is now the Myoshin-ji Temple. This large complex houses a main temple and 50 sub-temples. Nearly all of the buildings were destroyed in a war in the 15th century and rebuilt over the next 150 years. The reconstructions stand today.

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9am - 5pm
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

The basics

Myoshin-ji is the head temple of the Myoshin-ji school of Buddhism, which has 3,500 affiliated temples across Japan, and has declared itself the largest of all Zen Buddhist branches. The grounds here are beautiful, so much so that they’ve been designated as a national place of scenic beauty. You can join a tour to see the inside of the Hatto Hall, which features cultural treasures such as a beautiful dragon painting and a 7th-century bell.

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Things to know before you go

  • Many of the temple buildings are closed to the public, and others—notably Hatto Hall and the bathhouse—can be visited on guided tours (in Japanese).
  • There’s an information booth near each gate with maps and directions to navigate the large complex.
  • There are two ways to enter the complex: from the north or from the south. The main temple is near the southern entrance.
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How to get there

The temple is situated in the northwestern part of Kyoto, about a five-minute walk from JR Hanazono Station on the San-In Line (with direct service to Kyoto Station) or a 3-minute walk from Myoshinji Station along the Keifuku Kitano Line. The Imperial Palace takes about 20 minutes to reach by bus.

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Trip ideas

When to get there

The temple is open every day, throughout the year, and like many garden temple complexes in the city, it’s at its prettiest during the spring and late autumn months. Tours (in Japanese) are offered every 20 minutes year round, with a break for lunch. They last around half an hour.

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A 10- to 15-minute walk north of Myoshin-ji sits Ryōan-ji , a temple complex that's owned by Myoshin-ji and is best known for its rock garden, complete with raked sand and beautiful mossy mounds. While the garden is certainly the star feature here, the temple is also worth visiting, with its tatami mat floors and traditional paintings.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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As well as visiting the Myoshin-ji Temple, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: