Beginning of main content
Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Search over 1,000,000 properties worldwide and 550 airlines worldwide.

Search over a million flights, hotels, packages, and more

No Expedia cancellation fee to change or cancel almost any hotel reservation.

Nanzenji Temple

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.

Popular Activities at Nanzenji Temple

Ensure you have plenty of time at Nanzenji Temple. Below are some of the most popular things to do:

Small-Group Kyoto Cycling Tour is just one of the most popular experiences on offer here.

Take a look at our Kyoto things to do page to learn about even more activities in the area.


Guide to Exploring Nanzenji Temple


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 2,094 Properties near Nanzenji Temple
Kyoto Granbell Hotel ¥13,954
Kyoto Granbell Hotel

Kyoto Granbell Hotel

27 Yamatocho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Gion, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Yasaka Shrine and Nishiki Market. Kodaiji Temple and Hokanji Temple are also within 15 minutes. Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is only a 3-minute walk and Sanjo Keihan Station is 9 minutes.

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto ¥8,889
    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 7 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto ¥9,259
      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      15 Nishi-Iwamotocho, Higashi-kujo, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is 10 minutes by foot and Kyoto Station is 13 minutes.

        Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto ¥4,377
        Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto

        Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto

        410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          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. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo ¥11,545
          The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

          The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

          74 Nakajimacho,Kawaramachi Higashi-iru, Sanjo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            Ryokan KANADE ¥16,667
            Ryokan KANADE

            Ryokan KANADE

            1-2, Okazaki Hoshojicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Kyoto, this ryokan is within a 15-minute walk of Heian Shrine and Nanzenji Temple. Kyoto University and Philosopher's Walk are also within 1 mi (2 km). Keage Station is 12 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 14 minutes.

              Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo ¥37,800
              Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo

              Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo

              34 Nanzenji Fukuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Okazaki, this luxury ryokan is steps from Murin-an and Konchi-in Temple. Kyoto Municipal Zoo and Nanzenji Temple are also within 10 minutes. Keage Station is 5 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 11 minutes.

                Kyoto Yura Hotel Mgallery by Sofitel (Opening April 2019) ¥19,676
                Kyoto Yura Hotel Mgallery by Sofitel (Opening April 2019)

                Kyoto Yura Hotel Mgallery by Sofitel (Opening April 2019)

                84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
                   
                  4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Sanjo, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market and Chion-in Temple. Heian Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km). Sanjo Keihan Station and Kyoto Sanjo Station are within a 2-minute walk.