The oldest Zen temple in Kyoto “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)” in Kyoto Gion

建仁寺 Kyoto Tourism


I am Mametako(まめたこ).
I am the front staff at hotel in Kyoto.

This time I will introduce you to the oldest temple in Kyoto, “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)”.




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Is “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)” not popular with tourists came from overseas?

A temple whose name is not overwhelming while working with tourists.

That is “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)”.

“Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)” is a temple located in the center of Gion.
I like this temple which is located near Hanami-koji St.(花見小路通) where lined with buildings that feel like Kyoto.


When I guide around Gion, I always recommend “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)”.

I feel that many tourists visit Gion without knowing “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)”.

It is easy to go to sightseeing spots from Gion.
Kinkakuji Temple, Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari and other famous places can take time, but you can go without changing train or bus.

Although there is a cormorant place in the vicinity, after all Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari Shrine are overwhelmingly popular and want to go to everyone.

“Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)” is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto

“Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)” is the temple of Rinzai school and the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.

There are three Zen schools in Japan, Rinzai(臨済宗), Soto(曹洞宗), Obaku(黄檗宗).

Currently, the most remaining is the Soto Sect(曹洞宗) or Rinzai Sect(臨済宗).

The religious denominations differed depending on their status.

Soto sect(曹洞宗) was believed by farmers.

Rinzai sect(臨済宗) was believed by samurai.

Obaku sect(黄檗宗) was believed by daimyo(大名,feudal lord).

The highlights of “Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)”

  • The Wind and Thunder Gods (Replica)
  • Long-length barrier painting (Replica)
  • Painting of two dragons
  • Various Japanese gardens

“The Wind and Thunder Gods(風神雷神図屛風)” by Tawaraya Soutatsu(俵屋宗達)

“Cloud Dragon(雲龍図)”  by Kaihoku Yusho(海北友松)

“Daiou en garden(大雄苑)” of Karesansui Garden(枯山水庭園)

“Painting of two dragons(双龍図)” by Junsaku Koizumi(小泉淳作)

I especially like this “Painting of two dragons”.

The picture of a dragon whose size is equal to 108 tatami matches is truly impressive. I look up to it until my neck hurts every time.

The corridor of Hojō(方丈)

“The garden of 〇△▢” by Kitayama Yasuo(北山安夫)

The four major ideas of Zen Buddhism “ground water fire wind” is represented by a symbol.

Also on the axis “◯ △ ▢”.

This is a sliding door painted by a female dyeing house. It is unknown whether it is still being exhibited.

This is a picture of March 2018.

“Cho-on-tei Garden” by Kitayama Yasuo(北山安夫)

“Kennin-ji Temple(建仁寺)” which you can enjoy even on rainy days

Because Kenninji is a large building and has many sights, it can be enjoyed even on rainy days.

Please do take pictures freely.

It is a temple that I recommend by all means when visiting Kyoto and Gion.

“Painting of two dragons(双龍図)”

At the end of this article

Thank you for reading.

I would be happy if my blog tells you about the charms of Kyoto and can helps you to travel to Kyoto.

Thank you for reading until the end.


建仁寺 The Oldest Zen Temple Kenninji
Kyoto Tourism


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Useful information for sightseeing in Kyoto [Kyoto Mame-Techo]