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Top 5 Most Stunning Temples in Kyoto, Japan

Top 5 Most Stunning Temples in Kyoto, Japan

Top 5 Most Stunning Temples in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto has over 1,600 temples and shrines, making it one of the most significant religious centers in Japan. If you are looking for the most gorgeous temples in the city, we’re here to help you out.

Visiting temples is one of the best things to do in Kyoto. The classic beauty of these structures is something distinctive to Japan.

But more than the mesmerizing physical grandeur of a quiet place of worship, a temple gives you the much-needed space to meditate or reflect on a lot of things happening in your life as well as experience the culture and tradition on a deep, spiritual level.

Ready to do temple hopping in Kyoto? You better check our list of the best temples in Kyoto below.

By the way, Kiyomizudera — one of the most popular temples and tourist attractions in Kyoto — is under renovation until March 2020, so we leave it off at this time to give other equally stunning temples the chance to shine.

1. Tofukuji

[Tofukuji | Image Courtesy of Sharonang / Pixabay]

Tofukuji is one of the biggest and most significant temples in Kyoto. This Zen Buddhist temple was first built in the 13th century and had gone through lots of renovations and improvements. Located in Hommachi, Higashiyama, Tofukuji boasts several beautiful gardens, each with a distinct style, from rock gardens to pond to the lush landscape. In autumn, Tofukuji becomes extremely charming as the maple leaves turn orange and red.

Tofukuji is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., depending on the season.

2. Saihoji

[Saihoji | Image Courtesy of Jean-Marie Hullot / Wikimedia Commons]

Saihoji is one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This tranquil Zen Buddhist temple is popular for its unique moss garden. In fact, locals call it “Koke-dera” which literally translates to “moss temple.” Saihoji’s magnificent moss garden has more than 120 different species of moss, so you can imagine how verdant the landscape is. When it rains in the fall, you will be awe-struck by the contrast of bright green mosses and the colors of autumn leaves. The temple is so serene that Steve Jobs, Apple’s late founder, frequented this place whenever he visited Kyoto.

Saihoji opens daily from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

3. Kinkakuji

[Kinkakuji | Image Courtesy of pen_ash / Pixabay]

Kinkakuji — or what is known as the “Golden Pavilion” — is one of the main tourist attractions in Kyoto visited by millions annually. Fun fact: Kinkakuji’s official name is “Rokuonji.” The moniker that locals and tourists are used to is a direct reference to the temple’s vibrant gold color (gold = kin in the Nihonggo), which is its most distinctive feature. Making the temple more striking is its location where it’s surrounded by pond moss and green/orange/red forest landscape, depending on the season. It’s also one of the best temples in Kyoto to see at night.

Kinkakuji opens daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4. Ginkakuji

[Ginkakuji | Image Courtesy of Mariamichelle / Pixabay]

Ginkakuji is the counterpart of Kinkakuji whose name literally means “Silver Pavilion.” Unlike the Golden Pavilion, Ginkakuji’s name has nothing to do with the temple’s building color. In fact, Ginkakuji is unmistakably made of wooden structures. Though not as popular as its counterpart, the Silver Pavilion is on this list due to its refined and classy landscape of moss and dry gardens surrounding the temple premises.

Ginkakuji is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., depending on the season.

5. Toji

[Toji Pagoda | Image Courtesy of Kakidai / Wikimedia Commons]

Literally means “East Temple,” Toji is one of the only three Buddhist temples allowed in Kyoto after it became the new capital of Japan. Toji Temple has survived centuries of devastation and antiquity, but it still stands strong today. This Shingon Buddhist temple is also home to a five-story, 55-meter wooden pagoda that’s widely visible in Kyoto’s skyline. The pagoda, in fact, is the tallest of its kind in all of Japan.

Toji is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kyoto is the heart of Japan and has rich history and culture. Our walking tours will show you why. On our Walking Tours you will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture. Free Walking Tours in Kyoto | Kyoto Walking Tours. Book your free walking tour of Kyoto today.

Free day and night walking tours of Kyoto

Kyoto is heart of Japan and have the rich history and culture. Our walking tours will show you why. You will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture.

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Photos Provided by Mon petit voyage a Kyoto