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Nanzenji Temple
Vacation Travel Guide

Art, elaborate gardens and a giant gate await at this temple that stands tall as one of the most important of its kind in the country.

Tourists gather at the Nanzenji Zen Buddhist temple nestled at the foot of the Higashiyama Mountains. It is known throughout Japan for its spiritual importance as the head of a branch of Rinzai Zen. The shrine, which is decorated by multicolored trees, is packed full of antique paintings and ornate gardens.

Gaze up at the 72-foot-high (22-meter) Sanmon Gate. From the balcony at the top of the gate, take vibrant photos of the green, orange and red foliage with a mountainous landscape beyond them. Marvel at the 124 sliding-door paintings from the Kano school of art. Many of the works portray tigers. Visit in the fall to make the most of the changing colors of the leaves.

Find yourself in the elegant Hojo Garden. It consists of rocks, small pebbles and sand. The Tsuiji Wall surrounding the grounds is made from mud. The particular arrangement of the stones is known as the “mother tiger and her cubs crossing a river.” Admire a charming waterfall from the tearoom. Check out the Lake Biwa aqueduct from the late 19th century within the temple’s grounds. Visit one of the complex’s 12 sub-temples, which include Nanzen-in, Konchi-in and Tenjuan.

Originally a retirement home for an emperor in the 13th century, the building was later converted into a Zen temple. There is a fee to enter the gardens and certain buildings, although the temple precincts are free. The complex is closed annually for the last few days of December.

Nanzenji Temple is located in the northeastern sector of the city. The nearest subway station is Keage, which is on the Tozai Line. It is only a few minutes away on foot. The Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop is close. These transportation links can be accessed easily from Kyoto Station. Nearby sites include the Philosopher’s Walk, Konchi-in Temple and Okazaki Park.

Top things to do in Nanzenji Temple

Top Hotels Close to Nanzenji Temple

Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
3.5 out of 5
410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥2,634 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Honnoji Temple and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Shiyakusho-mae ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,014 reviews)

"Great location, friendly staffs, and clean room. Will recommend to friends and families when they visit Kyoto."…"

Reviewed on Feb 14, 2021

Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
3.5 out of 5
2-204-2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥64,630 per night from Mar 5 to Mar 6

Located in Higashiyama, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine, and Gion Corner. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (4 reviews)

"学校校舎の懐かしい雰囲気が、子供の頃を思い出させてくれます。落ち着いた空間は、長期滞在には必要な時間と安心感を与えてくれる素晴らしいホテルです。"…"

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2020

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
3.5 out of 5
31 Fukuchi-cho, Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥58,000 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8

Located in Sakyo Ward, this ryokan is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Heian Shrine and within 3 mi (5 km) of Kiyomizu Temple and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Sanjusangendo Temple ...

4.9/5Exceptional! (15 reviews)
the best ryokan in Kyoto

"the best ryokan in Kyoto"…"

Reviewed on Mar 5, 2020

Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Nanzenji Temple

Best Lodging Options Near Nanzenji Temple

Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
3.5 out of 5
410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥2,634 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8
Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
3.5 out of 5
2-204-2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥64,630 per night from Mar 5 to Mar 6
The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
3.5 out of 5
31 Fukuchi-cho, Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥58,000 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8
Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo
Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo
3.5 out of 5
34 Nanzenji Fukuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥35,836 per night from Mar 13 to Mar 14
Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo
The Westin Miyako Kyoto
The Westin Miyako Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Awataguchi Kachocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥40,000 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8
The Westin Miyako Kyoto
Aoi Philosophers Path Villa
Aoi Philosophers Path Villa
3.5 out of 5
10 Nanzenji, Kitanobo-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥73,636 per night from Mar 8 to Mar 9
Aoi Philosophers Path Villa
Ryokan KANADE
Ryokan KANADE
4 out of 5
1-2, Okazaki Hoshojicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥15,455 per night from Mar 5 to Mar 6
Ryokan KANADE
Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto
Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto
3.5 out of 5
51, Okazaki, Higashi Tenno-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥6,116 per night from Mar 6 to Mar 7
Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto
Hotel Jardin de Fleurs - Adult Only
Hotel Jardin de Fleurs - Adult Only
3 out of 5
1-13 Okazaki Hoshojicho, Kyoto, Kyoto
Hotel Jardin de Fleurs - Adult Only
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.