Shōren-in Temple exudes grace and charm with its traditional Japanese buildings and simplistic gardens. Its paths zigzag around the grounds to all manner of hidden gems, from a teahouse to a bamboo orchard. Discover antique works of art and important spiritual objects of worship in the complex’s halls. Rich in history, the temple shares an intriguing relationship with the Imperial Palace. As such, the shrine accurately replicates its respectful and peaceful tone.
Follow the twisting path around the temple’s charming structures and gardens. Take the wooden pathways between the buildings. Embrace the tranquility around the garden’s pond, and follow the paths around the grounds. Find a small teahouse along the way before a charming shrine and a bamboo grove. On special occasions, the gardens are soaked in warm light to emphasize their beauty.
Admire the paintings on walls and sliding doors in the complex’s parlor. Peruse the Shijokodo Hall, which houses the main objects of worship: a statue and a drawing representing Buddhist deities. At times, these are closed to the public, although replicas are available to view. Look around the Shogunzuka Dainichi-do Temple within the estate. Take photos of panoramic city views from its vistas. Its gardens represent the four seasons.
The site is known as a Monzeki temple, which means it is linked to the imperial family. It originally housed the emperor Toba’s son along with the head priest. The temple also served the imperial family during the 18th century, when an empress lived there for a short period.
Shōren-in Temple is located in the Higashiyama District toward the east of the city by the Chion-in Temple and Maruyama Park. Higashiyama Train Station is 10 minutes away on foot. It can be reached from Kyoto Station via the Tozai Subway Line. Regular buses take passengers to Jingu-michu bus station, right by the temple.