Kenninji Temple, Kyoto

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  • Kenninji Temple
    by Ewingjr98
  • Kenninji Temple
    by Ewingjr98
  • Kenninji Temple
    by Ewingjr98
  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Kenninji Temple

    by toonsarah Written Dec 18, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    This is Japan's oldest Zen temple, having been founded in 1202 by the monk Eisai who is credited with introducing Zen to Japan. He is buried on the temple grounds. We didn’t have time to go inside here on our tour of Gion but were able to admire the setting among the “cloud-pruned” trees or niwaki.

    The temple buildings you see today date from the 16th century when it was last rebuilt. The extensive grounds include sand and moss gardens, and inside there are notable art works, including a famous screen painted with the Wind and Thunder Gods, and the most recent addition, a ceiling painting of two dragons by Koizumi Junsaku which was installed in 2002 to commemorate the temple's 800th anniversary. If you scroll down the website page I’ve linked you’ll see it, and will understand why I wish we could have gone inside!

    But even if you're not going inside it's likely your stroll though Gion, whether guided or independent, will lead you this way, and the path through the temple is free to use. It makes a handy shortcut for locals, including geisha, some of whom no doubt also come here to worship.

    But we had more to see on our walk, after which there would be dinner at a conveyor- belt sushi restaurant.

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Kenninji Temple

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Oct 8, 2013
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    Kenninji is a Zen Buddhist temple just south of Gion, that is the oldest Zen temple in the city.

    Kennin-ji was founded about 1200 AD. The founder, a priest named Yousai, is said to have encouraged growing and drinking tea in Japan, and he is credited with introducing the tea ceremony to this nation.

    Kenninji has 14 subtemples off the temple grounds, spread throughout the neighborhoods around the temple.c

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    Kenninji Temple

    by Rabbityama Updated Sep 19, 2012
    Kenninji Temple's Hatto
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    Kenninji Temple is the oldest Zen temple in Japan. It is also one of the "Five Mountains" (the official top five Zen temples) of Kyoto. Like many top Zen temples, it contains twin dragon paintings however, Kenninji's were painted as recently as 2002, so they are not part of its history. There are also painted screens inside.

    The temple features a couple gardens, as well as the famous "Wind and Thunder Gods" (Fuujin and Raijin) painted screens by Sotatsu. The real paintings are very rarely brought out to display so what you see when you go are replicas.

    You can roam the temple grounds to see the Hatto (main hall), sanmon gate, and other buildings for free. To enter and see the art and gardens, it costs 500 yen.

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    Zen temple Kennin-ji

    by caravaggio Updated Jul 28, 2006

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    Its next to Gion center and in my opinion its the best zen stone gardened temple..as a great gift you will see doubledragon on the roof just next to stone gardens..if you cant stand temples I am promising you to that you can not leave this magnificent temple until it is closed. Absolutely wonderful

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    Kenninji Temple.

    by worldkiwi Updated May 7, 2004

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    Zen garden at Kenninji Temple.

    Kenninji, is a zen buddhist temple, just south of Gion. The temple was undergoing rennovations when I visited, but was very pleasant to walk around. I liked it more than Nanzenji, but that was probably because Nanzenji's zen gardens were closed when I went.
    Kenninji has a remarkable main temple building with a fantastic fresco ceiling... it is a contemporary piece of work, but well worth going to see.
    The grounds are prettier than Nanzenji and the zen garden is more accessible and seemingly part of the whole.
    Entrance is JPY500.

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    • Budget Travel

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