The one of the UNESCO sites is home to a special breed of cherry trees, graceful architecture, beautiful gardens.
Ninna-ji, a temple complex in northwestern Kyoto is a walkable distance from nearby Ryoan-ji and Kinkaku-ji. The temple is one of the many great temples in Kyoto which are listed as World Heritage Sites. This temple is the center of the Omuro sect of Shingon Buddhism. It was founded in 888 by the reigning emperor. Over many centuries, a member of the Imperial Family used to serve as Ninna-ji’s head priest, and the temple was also known as Omuro Imperial Palace.
The oldest buildings here date back to the beginning of the Edo Period in the early 1600s. Among them are the main hall (Kondo), the Kannon Hall, the Nio-mon front gate (a gate with Buddhist images on either side) , the Chu-mon inner gate and the five-storied pagoda.
The highlight of Ninna-ji is the Goten.
The former residence of the head priest is in the corner of the temple complex. The Goten is built in the style of an imperial palace. The graceful buildings are connected with each other by covered corridors. It features elegantly painted sliding doors. Surrounded rock and pond gardens are beautiful.
Ninna-ji is famous as a place for viewing cherry blossoms during the spring. The cherry trees planted here are late blooming, called Omuro Sakura. Therefore, it’s a good place to visit towards the end of the cherry blossom season. They usually bloom around mid-April. By the inner gate, there is the Omuro Sakura grove, which is designated a national scenic beauty spot. These late blooming cherry trees are much shorter in height, so you can feel like walking through cherry blossom clouds.
The beauty of Omuro Sakura has been admired since the Edo period. Many poems also have been written about it throughout the ages. On the temple grounds, You can also find some Somei Yoshino cherry trees in front of the main hall and weeping cherry trees in front of the bell tower.
Access : just a few steps from Omuro Ninnaji Station on the Keifuku Kitano Line or a 15-minute walk from Hanazono station on the JR Sagano Line
Hours : 9:00 to 17:00
Admission : 500 yen (regular fee), Cherry blossom viewing 500 yen, Treasury Hall 500 yen