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“The best of the least touristy temples in Kyoto”
Review of Ninna-ji Temple

Ninna-ji Temple
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Scholar-led Small-Group Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape
Ranked #15 of 1,313 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Ninna-ji is a national tresure and also designated as a world heritage site. From over a thousand years ago, it has a deep co nection to the imperial family. Then, Ninna-ji is one of most famous temple which known for beautiful cherry blossoms, its wrapping up the end of the season in Kyoto - a town with many famous cherry trees.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed January 23, 2014

If you want peace and quiet, this is probably it. The whole complex offers a lot to see and is beautiful in its simplicity. While I wonder why it does not have the same recognition as the other more popular temples in Kyoto I must confess to secretly wishing for it to remain under the radar, as it's one of the places I enjoy visiting ever time I'm in the city.

1  Thank jakta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"story pagoda"
in 16 reviews
"cherry blossoms"
in 21 reviews
"five storey"
in 6 reviews
"bell tower"
in 3 reviews
"mid april"
in 4 reviews
"golden pavilion"
in 18 reviews
"beautiful zen garden"
in 6 reviews
"whole complex"
in 4 reviews
"world heritage"
in 5 reviews
"full bloom"
in 5 reviews
"take your time"
in 6 reviews
"admission fee"
in 3 reviews
"walk around"
in 5 reviews
"under renovation"
in 3 reviews
"rock garden"
in 5 reviews
in 23 reviews
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206 - 210 of 1,021 reviews

Reviewed January 3, 2014

To be honest, I feel that Ninna-ji is more picturesque than it's better known counterpart - Kinkakuji (Golden Temple). The grounds are more expansive and the gardens just have so many good angles that it looks different in every picture.

What I loved most about it though is that it invites you to just stop, pick a good corner and quietly regard the scene in front of you.

The design of the complex seem to make people flow through the buildings with such ease that it never seems crowded.

I highly recommended a visit to Ninnaji for the weary traveller who just needs a little break and a place to just contemplate in relative peace.

Thank Peewee L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2013

You can walk from Ryoanji to Ninnaji and though it was quite a walk in the freezing rain my visit to Ninnaji was a delightful surprise. As noted on TA, this site is not on many visitors itinerary. However, the blogs of those who have visited piqued my interest.

Ninnaji, once a palace that was later converted into a temple for the Shingon sect is set in a large complex with various interconnected buildings. In addition there are other ruins, pavilions in the complex that you can visit without fees.

It's often very hard to describe why some places touch our hearts and others don't register much.
The building structures at Ninnaji were not overly ornate nor do they provide the so called 'wow' factor in terms of being plastered in gold or full of ornate carvings etc. However, walking along the interconnected verandahs, there was a wonderful sense of peace, calmness and beauty about the place despite some noisy school kids running about.
As you walk along the verandah you are treated to glimpses of the raked sand/gravel garden, a pond or two, thick carpets of fallen autumn leaves, the naked branches of trees that have lost its leaves, the evergreen pines and clusters of shrubs in various shapes, forms and hues.
Not everything is in full view but the slow discovery of each element and surprise that greets as you meander, makes this place quite special. I suppose in many ways, this is classic quintessential Japanese architecture and landscape.

Thank birdcagewalking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2013

My plan had been to visit the Golden Pavilion in the morning and then go to Arashiyama in the afternoon, but Kinkakuji took much less time than I had anticipated so I decided to go to Ninnaji because it is sort of on the way to Arashiyama. But I did not expect much, the various reviews were not all that compelling. So, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and quality of the sights at Ninnaji. Mind you, this was my third day in Kyoto and this was the tenth site I visited so I was already suffering a bit of “temple overload”. Yet, I was very impressed by Ninnaji and would recommend it.

For one thing, it is not just a temple, it is an entire complex. The grounds are extensive and include a variety of constructions from epic gates to small shrines and gardens, starting with a fearsome pair of guardian warriors at the front gate.

The first complex of buildings on your left when you enter the grounds has a series of painted doors (fusuma) that depict a variety of scenes – some of nature and wild life, others depicting people in action. Some of the more popular places I visited (Nijo, Nanzenji, etc.) also feature wonderfully painted doors and that is among their main attractions. The ones at Ninnaji are every bit as good, but for some reason that does not seem to draw the crowds. And that was the second benefit of Ninnaji: there were very few people. Or maybe it just seemed that way after coming from the Golden Pavilion!

Its about 2KM from Kinkakuji, so that would be about 800 yen by taxi. From Ninnaji you can walk five minutes to the Omuro Ninnaji Station on the Keifuku Kitano Trolley line. You can take that four stops to Katabiranotsuji and change trains to Arashiyama. So it fits right in as part of a full day itinerary.

1  Thank Flat_Planet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 23, 2013

The leaves of the Japanese maples were turning. It was fairly empty and the only noise was the ringing of the bell. It was a nice walk up the mountain to a shrine that goes by a lot of graves.
The lack of people improved my impression a lot.

Thank Ram1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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