Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto
Ninnaji Temple is the head temple of the Omuro School of Buddhism. It was founded in 888 by the Emperor Uda. Over the centuries a member of Japan's Imperial Family always acted as Ninnaji's head priest.
None of the original temple buildings survive today. They were all destroyed in wars or in fires. The temple's oldest remaining parts date back to the early 1600s. These include the main hall, the Kannon Hall, the front gate, the inner gate and the five storied pagoda.
The Goten in the southwestern corner of the temple complex was the former residence of the head priest. It is like a palace with wood panels, painted screen walls, sliding doors and rock gardens.
Ninnaji is famous for its late blooming cherry trees.
Ninnaji Temple is a historically important temple in northwest Kyoto. The temple was founded in 888 AD, but was destroyed during the Onin War in 1467. The temple was rebuild in the early 1600s, and most of the current buildings date from this period, including the Golden Hall, a National Treasure of Japan. For nearly 1,000 years, Emperors of Japan of sent their sons to become priests at Ninnaji, the last at the end of the Edo Period.
In 1994, Ninnaji became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site called "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto."
The emperor maintained a residence at Ninna Ji. the temple is free but there is an admission for the summer palace. I highly recommend it as I believe the zen rock garden in the palace far outshines Ryoan Ji.
The original temple, founded in 888, was used as a residence for the ex-emperor, so Ninnaji Temple is also known as the Old Imperial Palace of Omuro. The current temple was rebuilt in the 17th century, and the Shiro-Shoin (the temple area with the garden) was rebuilt in 1890. The temple complex is actually similar to that of Daigoji Temple in southeastern Kyoto. Like Daigoji, Ninnaji Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for those who are interested in visiting these sites.
Although I would not make a special trip to come here, Ninnaji is conveniently located along the same road as Ryoanji and Kinkakuji Temple, so it is not at all out of the way. Also, it tends to be less crowded than many of the other sites in Kyoto, so it may be a refreshing place to visit. Ninnaji Temple is particularly beautiful in the autumn and spring. The Niumon Gate is arguably the most impressive part of the temple, due to its large size.
Entry to the temple is free however, the entrance fee to the Shiro-Shoin and Omuro Palace is 500 yen.
A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE .
Estabilished in 888 AD as an Imperioal Residence but is now the Headquarters of the Buddhist Shingon Sect.
Not crowded. Tranquil .
A very large site but the most interesting area is located in the SW corner of the site.
Shoes off to enter this complex.
A very unique garden which is viewed from buildings elevated off of the ground and built in the Shinden Architecture tradition,.
This can be done together with the ginkakuji temple and nanzenji temple. It's all along the same road. Once inside the main gate, there is a ticket counter: one ticket which includes the palace and msueum and another ticket which is for palace only. We took the second ticket. basically, you just walk around the house. There's a nice rock garden, and a beautiful normal garden.
The main gates have the door gods by the side. When you enter the main gate, don't step on the raised wood, you're supposed to step over it.
Since its foundation by Emperor Uda in 888 A.D., the Temple has been known as Omuro Palace, since the head priests of the Temple were tonsured sons of the imperial family until the Meiji Restoration (1869).
Kyoto is full of temples. Most tourists love Kinkakuji, but my favorite is Nina-ji.
It is very peaceful and has a beautiful garden
Photo by Frantisek Staud.
We didn't really go in to Ninna-ji (UNESCO listed) coz we're behind schedule and there's entrance fee...
Anyway the gate itself is quite interesting with statues of 2 Guardians (Nio), Ungyo and Agyo.