A temple surrounded by trees and moss green gardens, to offer tranquility.
Gio-ji (祇王寺), a quiet sub-temple of Daikaku-ji Temple is located to the north of Arashiyama, in the Sagano area of Kyoto. The temple is often covered in deep shade by a dense forest. In the temple’s grounds, there is only a small thatched temple hall. It was donated to the temple in 1895 by Kitagaki Kunimichi, a former governor of Kyoto Prefecture.
It’s believed that the temple was named after Gio, a dancer dumped by the Heike Clan’s powerful leader Taira-no-Kiyomori. She spent the rest of her life as a Buddhist priestess, along with her younger sister, mother, and another Kiyomori’s lovers here. The tranquility, created by its story, the beautiful moss gardens, and the thatched roofs is the best charm of Gio-ji Temple.
A tranquil moss green temple
In the thatched main hall, wooden statues of the women and Kiyomori, the statue of Dainichi Nyorai and other statues connected to the temple’s place in the history and literature. The temple’s grounds are particularly beautiful in autumn, when the leaves change its color. Visitors may enjoy red and yellow autumn leaves in sharp contrast to the green moss.
Access : 20-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama station on the JR Sagano line, or Arashiyama station on the Keifuku line
Hours : 9:00 to 17:00
Admission : 300 yen, (600 yen for a combined ticket with Daikaku-ji Temple)