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Eikando Temple


Explore this hillside temple which features a statue with an unusual history, connected wooden walkways, a bathhouse and a steam house.  

The Eikando Temple’s main object of worship is a wooden statue of the Amida Buddha, whose head is facing over his shoulder, rather than straight ahead. According to legend, the statue once came to life one day, stepped down from its dais and joined in with the head priest, Eikan, as he was praying. The story goes that when Eikan stopped in surprise the statue turned its head, to tell him he was slow, and stayed that way.

You will find the statue, said to have been carved in the 12th century, in the Amida Hall which was built somewhat later, at the beginning of the 17th century.

The temple is formally known as Zenrinji Temple; zenrinji means “temple in a calm grove.” Nestled amongst many trees and surrounded by ponds and moss gardens, Eikando is one of the quieter temple areas in Kyoto.

Although the temple was founded in 863, the buildings were completed at different stages between the 1600s and the 1900s. If you climb further up the hill, you’ll get to the Tahoto pagoda, a two-storey building with a round second level, built in 1928. From here you can look back down over the grounds and out over the city.

The Hojo Pond is a garden created for quiet meditation and reflection, and is the meeting point of all the streams that run through the temple grounds. The pond is criss-crossed by stone bridges and is a spectacular place to enjoy the fall show of red and orange maple leaves the temple is famous for. Throughout fall the temple is open late to the public, and the gardens are lit up, creating a magical scene.

Bus trips from Kyōto Station, the city’s main transportation hub, take a little over half an hour. The temple has an admission fee and is open daily. 


Guide to Exploring around Eikando Temple


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Lodging Near Eikando Temple

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Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto $54
Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto

Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto

51, Okazaki, Higashi Tenno-cho,, Kyoto
     
    3.7
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    3.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Ohara, Kibune, Kurama, this hotel is steps from Okazaki Shrine and Okazaki Betsuin. Sen-oku Hakuko Kan and Kyoto Municipal Zoo are also within 10 minutes.

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto $89
    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, Kyoto
       
      4.3
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      4.0 out of 5.0

      Guests of Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto can walk 7 minutes to Kyoto Station or use the hotel's free shuttle service. Nearby attractions include Kyoto Tower, Nishihonganji Temple, and Kyoto Aquarium.

      Aoi Philosophers Path Villa
      Aoi Philosophers Path Villa

      Aoi Philosophers Path Villa

      10 Nanzenji, Kitanobo-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
         
        5.0
        of 5, from 2 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        Located in Ohara, Kibune, Kurama, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Eikando Temple and Heian Shrine. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kiyomizu Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        The Westin Miyako Kyoto
        The Westin Miyako Kyoto

        The Westin Miyako Kyoto

        Keage, Sanjo, Higashiyama, Kyoto
           
          4.3
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          4.0 out of 5.0

          The Westin Miyako is just minutes from downtown Kyoto and the city's historical preservation districts, with more than 2000 shrines and temples and an abundance of beautiful, natural scenery.

          Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo $226
          Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo

          Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo

          34 Nanzenji Fukuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
             
            3.8
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            3.5 out of 5.0

            Located in Higashiyama, this luxury ryokan is steps from Murin-an and Konchi-in Temple. Kyoto Municipal Zoo and Nanzenji Temple are also within 10 minutes.

            Ryokan KANADE $145
            Ryokan KANADE

            Ryokan KANADE

            1-2, Okazaki Hoshojicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
               
              5.0
              of 5, from 5 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              This ryokan is located in Kyoto (Higashiyama), close to Murin-an, Heian Shrine, and Kiyomizu Temple. Also nearby are Kyoto Imperial Palace and Gion Corner.

              Kikusui
              Kikusui

              Kikusui

              31 Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho,, Kyoto
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0

                This hotel is located in Kyoto (Higashiyama), close to Murin-an, Heian Shrine, and Kiyomizu Temple. Also nearby are Kyoto Imperial Palace and Gion Corner.

                Kyoto okazaki machiya 'NAGOMI'
                Kyoto okazaki machiya 'NAGOMI'

                Kyoto okazaki machiya 'NAGOMI'

                39-4 Torii-cho, Awataguchi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
                   
                  4.7
                  of 5, from 3 reviews
                  3.0 out of 5.0

                  This guesthouse is located in Kyoto (Higashiyama), close to Murin-an, Heian Shrine, and Kiyomizu Temple. Also nearby are Kyoto Imperial Palace and Gion Corner.