This temple walking tour is what it says, a walking tour and these places can be visited individually by train. However I chose to make this tour to see everything I wanted to see in a limited time. There is a lot of walking involved in this day and I would like to visit these places again. Looking back on making this page it fills my heart with such joy that I was able to see such beauty .
Starting off at Nijo I took the train towards Emmachi on the Sanin main line and got off at Hanazono. Here you will find the Myoshin-ji temple complex.
As you can see it’s quite a big place, it has 50 sub-temples in addition to the main buildings . This place is the head of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism and calls it self the largest of all Zen temples. There is lots to see here and you could visit here and have a guided tour.
However I came here to see one place in particular Taizo-in Temple.
This is the most famous and the oldest of the sub-temples. With its beautiful pond and rock garden . Founded by Zen priest Muinsoin in 1404, I was especially lucky to be visiting here at cherry blossom season as they have beautiful weeping cherry trees here but there are many other plants to view throughout the year from azaleas,camellias,wisteria,iris,hydrangeas,lotus and autumn foliage. Taizo-in is open to the public all year round and have meditation classes you can attend, tea experiences, day tour and Buddhist cuisine, also calligraphy classes (reservation required).
Spend as much time as you like here but walk out the other side at the top entrance . Now we will turn left towards Ninna-ji and Renge-ji Temple. And visit three very famous temples along the Hontsuji Dori.
Ninna-ji /Renge-ji then onto Royoan-ji and then Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion).
First we come to the beautiful wooden entrance of Ninna-ji. Formally called the Old Imperial Palace of Omuro. Now it’s known for being the headquarters for Omuro School of Shingon sect of Buddhism.
Follow the road round you can choose to visit Renge-ji next to Ninna-ji
Then the next temple to visit us Ryoan-ji
This has a very famous rock garden that can get very crowded but is still worth a visit.
Here a long with the temple grounds is a restaurant selling yudofu (boiled tofu) .
Now a bit of a longer walk to the next temple Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The Zen Buddhist Temple has to be one of the most famous and one of the most photographed. People go there with hired photographers wearing their special yukata to have their photographs taken. It can get very crowded especially in front of the Pavillion.
Unlike the silver Pavillion the Golden Pavillions two top floors are completely covered in gold leaf.
After spending time here walk down Kurama Guchi Dori (you will see this as it has an avenue of trees down the middle), Cross the road and turn right on to Nishioji Dori.
Here I visited a lovely traditional wagashi sweet shop and picked up a favourite of mine ichigo daifuku. (I wonder if the shop is still there)
Walk along Nishioji Dori and the next place you come to on my walking tour is Hirano shrine. Now I was very fortunate to have visited here at cherry blossom season and was one of my most memorable places I visited at that time. People just relaxing and enjoying Hanami .
Walk straight through here and carry on and you will arrive at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizan’s spirit and his kami is associated with education, so people come here to pray for success in their studies. This place also has wonderful plum blossom, which bloom before the cherry blossoms . On February the 25th a tea ceremony called Baikasai is held here.
The ox is a symbol here and people rub it’s horns and body . It is said when you do this it enlightens and vitalises the brain. Also if you rub the body it is said to cure illness.
After here I made the long walk to Daitoku-ji
It is up to you if you have time to do this but I think for most people you will want to now walk back towards Nijo.
After a long day why don’t you go and relax and have a meal at Morpho Cafe.
Maps (Start Left to Right)