Kennin-ji Temple
Kennin-ji Temple
4.5
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Plan your visit
The area
Address
Neighborhood: Gion
Gion is Kyoto's famed Geisha District (called "Geiko" in Kyoto). Though Gion's many tea houses and entertainment restaurants are closed to foreigners, Geiko and Maiko in their traditional makeup with gilded hair in full kimono can be seen drifting the streets on their way to and from work, where they fan dance, sing, and play instruments for customers. Gion lights up at night, when the ancient-looking streets glow with lanterns along the river, where weeping willows catch the starlight and the air is warmed with conversation. Groups pass through to populate the restaurants and bars along the riverfront, but Gion still manages to be a mostly quiet district, due in large part to limited automotive traffic through many of its streets. Gion is a wonderful place to indulge in Kyoto's local and customary cuisines, and is best enjoyed after dark.
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • carloscharmy
    Bangkok, Thailand781 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Historical wonder
    Kennin-ji is an awe-inspiring historical gem! Its ancient legacy and cultural significance are captivating. The mesmerizing fusuma art, showcasing traditional motifs and vibrant colors, transports visitors to a bygone era. The breathtaking dragons on the ceiling adds an air of mystique and reverence. A truly immersive experience that allows one to connect with Japan's rich artistic heritage and spiritual depth. A must-visit for those seeking a profound encounter in Kyoto.
    Visited March 2023
    Written July 21, 2023
  • tim r
    137 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Up to the usual high standards, with bells on
    We changed our plans and went here, since it was pouring with rain and we didn't want to walk too far from our Higashiyama hotel. So glad we did! Most elements you might expect in a temple were perfectly represented here, and the rain just seemed to enhance the whole experience. Very impressive main temple hall, with an excellent contemporary dragon painting on the ceiling. The main gravel garden, Daoi-en, is a wonderfully contemplative space - give it at least 15 to 30 minutes to let it all sink in. Then the Shion garden is a courtyard garden which you can sit and look at from all sides. Beautiful in the heavy rain, a combination of moss and stones. Also around this courtyard are a collection of ancient and modern screen paintings - all exquisite. Last but not least, out of all the ultra tech toilets we visited in Japan, only these had a seat that lifted up as you entered the cubicle, and special slippers with bells on.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 8, 2023
  • Mia
    Michigan25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dragons are waiting for you.
    This is one of the great attractions you must visit if you love Japanese paintings, architecture, gardens, religious objects, etc. Various kinds of paintings on the sliding doors, the ceilings, and the screens are marvelous, especially the most famous Fu-jin and Rai-jin screen. The dragons on the sliding doors are breathtaking. Don’t forget to see the dragons on the ceiling as well. They are lively and even scary. The perfectly organized Japanese gardens will purify your mind.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written December 21, 2023
  • hfot2 🌸🍁🌸
    Vermont7,529 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Arrive early to have the grounds to yourself
    If you prefer to take photos without people wandering into your shots, arrive at the opening time of 10:00 AM. We arrived just at 10 and had the grounds almost entirely to ourselves for quite a while. As the morning progressed, more people arrived, but it never seemed to be overrun with crowds. The open spaces are expansive so we didn’t have that constant and annoying problem of people standing right where we wanted to shoot. I was surprised that we were the only Western visitors there. The grounds are lovely and the peace and quiet in the midst of Gion came as such a welcome relief. We spent almost two hours photographing the gardens and we could easily have spent more. As we left we took an uphill road lined with gorgeous azalea plants in full bloom (early for this time of year, but everything was early in 2023 it seemed).
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 2, 2024
  • tracey k
    Redmond, Washington756 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    LOVELY DRY GARDEN SCAPES
    Beautiful examples of Zen dry gardens. For Western visitors, be aware not only take off your shoes upon entry, but put on Temple provided shoes in certain areas (it's pretty obvious). There are plenty of rules, signs explaining rules, and security guards enforcing rules as there are no photograph areas, no entry rooms, no sitting areas, etc. The two dragon ceiling painting is stunning and should not be missed. The goshuin (temple stamp) is hand painted and lovely.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 7, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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tim r
Worcester137 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
We changed our plans and went here, since it was pouring with rain and we didn't want to walk too far from our Higashiyama hotel. So glad we did! Most elements you might expect in a temple were perfectly represented here, and the rain just seemed to enhance the whole experience. Very impressive main temple hall, with an excellent contemporary dragon painting on the ceiling. The main gravel garden, Daoi-en, is a wonderfully contemplative space - give it at least 15 to 30 minutes to let it all sink in. Then the Shion garden is a courtyard garden which you can sit and look at from all sides. Beautiful in the heavy rain, a combination of moss and stones. Also around this courtyard are a collection of ancient and modern screen paintings - all exquisite. Last but not least, out of all the ultra tech toilets we visited in Japan, only these had a seat that lifted up as you entered the cubicle, and special slippers with bells on.
Written October 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

carloscharmy
Bangkok, Thailand781 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023
Kennin-ji is an awe-inspiring historical gem! Its ancient legacy and cultural significance are captivating. The mesmerizing fusuma art, showcasing traditional motifs and vibrant colors, transports visitors to a bygone era. The breathtaking dragons on the ceiling adds an air of mystique and reverence. A truly immersive experience that allows one to connect with Japan's rich artistic heritage and spiritual depth. A must-visit for those seeking a profound encounter in Kyoto.
Written July 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mia
Michigan25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Friends
This is one of the great attractions you must visit if you love Japanese paintings, architecture, gardens, religious objects, etc. Various kinds of paintings on the sliding doors, the ceilings, and the screens are marvelous, especially the most famous Fu-jin and Rai-jin screen. The dragons on the sliding doors are breathtaking. Don’t forget to see the dragons on the ceiling as well. They are lively and even scary. The perfectly organized Japanese gardens will purify your mind.
Written December 21, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hfot2 🌸🍁🌸
Vermont7,529 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
If you prefer to take photos without people wandering into your shots, arrive at the opening time of 10:00 AM.

We arrived just at 10 and had the grounds almost entirely to ourselves for quite a while.

As the morning progressed, more people arrived, but it never seemed to be overrun with crowds. The open spaces are expansive so we didn’t have that constant and annoying problem of people standing right where we wanted to shoot. I was surprised that we were the only Western visitors there.

The grounds are lovely and the peace and quiet in the midst of Gion came as such a welcome relief. We spent almost two hours photographing the gardens and we could easily have spent more.

As we left we took an uphill road lined with gorgeous azalea plants in full bloom (early for this time of year, but everything was early in 2023 it seemed).

Written January 2, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Katrinus
Dubai, United Arab Emirates132 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
I don’t know why more people weren’t here, it’s in the heart of Gion/Higashiyama tourist area yet was so quiet and peaceful (a good thing really for a zen temple). It’s not a large complex so can be seen and enjoyed more easily than others too. The inner gardens, screens and that amazing dragon ceiling are worth the entrance.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Gentleman Traveler
London, UK19 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019
This was a strange one, my friend and I visited the temple and were not allowed in because I had with me a professional looking DSLR camera and the (very rude) staff just pointed to a sign saying no professional photoshoots allowed and then ignored us and wouldn’t let us in. I must say this was really peculiar and I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I am sure that some people take liberties and dominate the beautiful surroundings by using it for private photoshoots but we were very disappointed to be prejudiced in such a manner and they dealt with the situation very poorly. Perhaps the lady behind the desk was just having a bad day, perhaps she had an Ex husband who worked for Canon Cameras? Who knows!? 😂 All I can say was that we were both dumbfounded and left the temple feeling very confused at what had just happened. Looking back it was very disappointing but luckily we had planned other activities at other temples which let us in no matter how professional I may have looked...I guess I should take it as a compliment right?
Written June 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marie N
London, England, United Kingdom9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Solo
When I planned my trip to Kyoto Kennin-ji Temple was not on my list of places that I intended to visit, in fact I had heard nothing about it. I ended up visiting the temple after a forecasted typhoon dashed my plans of climbing Mount Kurama that day. The threat of a typhoon also meant that I decided to stay near to the hotel in Gion where I was staying. I had walked past Kennin-ji everyday but had not given it much thought but as it was a five-minute walk from the hotel I thought I would pop in for fifteen mins to see what it was like. The fifteen minutes I had intended to spend here turned into two hours. The temple was quiet when I visited, and I appeared to be the only non-Japanese person there. At first, I walked around and admired all the wall paintings after I went to look at the impressive ceiling painting of two dragons. What I really loved though was the serene atmosphere, people were just sitting everywhere just enjoying the zen gardens. I spent the rest of my visit sitting in various places just enjoying the gardens and watching the rain pour down. After nearly two weeks in Japan rushing from one place to the next it was just wonderful to sit and relax and enjoy the calming atmosphere of Kennin-ji Temple.
Written August 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vincy C
Adelaide, Australia924 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019 • Friends
We didn't plan on visiting this temple, but as we saw this while we were walking around the Gion area so decided to go in and have a look, definitely glad that we did.

Upon entering the temple, you immediately feel the calmness inside. The little garden inside is very zen.

In addition, there's a large separate building from the temple, and I just said "wow" upon entering the building. There're 2 massive dragons drawn on the ceiling of the building. They're done in commemorates the 800 year anniversary of Kennin-ji’s. Very impressive.
Written July 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lucem808
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States897 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Couples
The first time I came here, it was highly recommended, and sadly, I didn't read the translation correctly--they showed a camera with a red-X, so I thought it was one of the famous temples with no photography, so I left. This time, I came with a friend, and he told me they do not allow photo shoots inside. (As another reviewer noted, maybe bring a modest camera, unless you are a professional photographer, in which case, they might still turn you away anyway.) Once you step inside, you see a 2-fold reason for their 'rule'.

On one hand, they have famous works of art, which usually, are not allowed to be photographed, which surprised me, as I've gone to other temples with less impressive visuals, yet the pieces within were so holy, they were not allowed to be photographed. First to be seen is Raijin and Fujin, the weather gods, revered and as old as Shinto. I actually own a replica at home, which surprised me to realize this is where it originated. Seeing the full golden beauty of the screen is breathtaking, even if the room is darkened.

The ceiling art of twin dragons is equally famous. You need to actually leave the area you arrive in, and cross a walkway in red slippers (so the guards know you're not sneaking in), to visit the main temple housing the artwork. Considering it took 2 years to complete for the 800-year anniversary of the temple, it is quite a sight to behold. There isn't a lot of angles to view it, and the available space will be tight on busier days. They don't seem to control who comes and goes, so it is a toss up. The art itself is so well detailed you might strain your neck viewing it.

Back to the interior of the temple, there is a main courtyard and a few side gardens. This takes you through historic areas, art, and stories. They also have a beautiful sliding screen door, which seems to change (with the season?). When I went, it was a beautiful shade of dark blue.

All-in-all, the place must have been famous for photographs with the aesthetic, and the fact the interior courtyard and mossy garden is surrounded by the temple itself. In the end, rather than banning all photography as some temples have, they just don't want photo shoots within. I'd say it's worth entry to see some of the pieces of art, and the peaceful interior, especially since it is available to take pictures of. Nearby Sanjuusan doesn't allow any photographs, and I feel if this temple does get chaotic or packed, they may institute a full camera ban in the future, but let's hope not.
Written June 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mc42
sidney126 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Couples
Clearly my prefered temple in Kyoto. There are rooms with tatami and splendid painting, Zen gardens, don't miss for any reason the two dragons celling in the small building beside.
Written September 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto

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