A quiet temple, to offer four gardens to stroll and sit on the tatami room with a green tea
Shorenin is an attractive temple, delightful and quiet. It is only steps away from the busy streets of the Higashiyama District in Kyoto. Shorenin dates from the 13th century. The famous priest Shinran (1173 – 1263), the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism, is believed to have studied at Shorenin at age 9.
The temple buildings were first constructed as a residence by the retired Emperor Toba for his seventh son to study Buddhism. The son became head priest of the temple and the tradition started of a member of the imperial family serving as the monk of Shorenin.
In the 18th century the temple served as a temporary residence of the Japanese imperial family called “Awata Gosho” (Awata Palace) after the fire of 1788.
Shorenin’s main buildings are connected with outside wooden walkways. Kachoden is a drawing room with beautiful views of the garden and Ryujin-no-ike Pond from its tatami room and beautiful painted fusuma sliding doors. Shijokodo Hall contains the main treasures of the temple. The largest building in the temple ground is Shinden.
Four Fine Gardens
Shorenin Temple has four gardens which are famous in Japan. Each garden attributed to a different luminary of Japanese landscape architecture. The gardens are sometimes illuminated at night, and are occasionally set of the “koto” (Japanese zither) concerts .
Visitors can sit and sip green tea while contemplating the first of its four gardens, enjoying the play of light upon the maple and cherry tree leaves, flowers, and moss.
The gardens at Shorenin are said to have been designed by two great landscapers Soami and Enshu Kobori. The main garden, Soami-no-niwa, is a very sophisticated garden centered around a pond. A miniature hill and arranged trees are perfectly balanced. An azalea garden and the moss-covered garden are in different ways, so visitors can enjoy the gardens strolling the path in the fresh air.
You can extend your visit to Shougunzuka Seiryuden which is a part of Shorenin that offers a perfect view of the city of Kyoto from 200 meters above.
Shogunzuka Seiryuden is located on the mountaintop of Higashiyama, Kyoto. A spacious wooden observation deck offers spectacular panoramic views of Kyoto
Access : 5-minute walk from Higashiyama station on the subway Tozai line
Bus : Kyoto City bus No. 5, 46, and 100 to Jingu-michi bus stop
Hours : 9:00 to 17:00
Admission : 500 yen
Shoren-in Temple’s beautiful gardens make a mysterious atmosphere at night. Visitors can enjoy strolling the path along 4 beautiful gardens, and all the wooden buildings are nicely lit up with autumn leaves.