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Ninnaji Temple

With picturesque blossom gardens and a golden hall considered a national treasure, this temple is a historic monument devoted to bliss and tranquility.

The Ninnaji Temple is the head temple of the Omuro School, a sect of Buddhism. As such, it leads the way in traditional Japanese design. Its highlights include a five-story pagoda, a golden hall and an orchard of dwarf cherry trees. Inside the temple, which was built in the year 888, painted screen walls and ancient artifacts are featured. The shrine’s breathtaking garden is typically ornate, with elaborate walls and a vibrant environment. This World Heritage Site is a great spot for an off-the-beaten-track discovery.

Amble through Shinden’s North Garden for a slice of nature. Green trees with occasional drops of autumnal color sit around a charming pond. Visit the temple in April, cherry blossom season, to make the most of its famous Omuro cherry trees. Enjoy the peacefulness found in Shinden’s South Garden with its perfectly raked sand and pebbles. Take photos of the five-story pagoda with the Zen gardens in the foreground. A wooden bridge connects each part of the structure.

Explore the Goten building where the head priest once lived. It is in the style of an imperial palace with painted sliding doors. Enjoy the golden hall for its extravagance. Sleep over at the Omuro Kaikan Hall and attend the morning service with monks. The guest rooms are typically Japanese with tatami mats.

The temple dates back over a millennium to the 9th century, when it served as a home to an imperial family. Fire partially destroyed the structure, but it was rebuilt in the 17th century. It is now part of the Omuro sect of Shingon Buddhism. It is open year-round, and there is a charge to enter the Treasury Hall and the cherry blossom area.

The Ninnaji Temple is located in the northwest of Kyoto. The Ryoan-ji Temple and the Golden Pavilion are nearby. You can get a bus or train from the JR Kyoto Station to the temple, a trip which should take around a half hour.

Popular Activities at Ninnaji Temple

Ensure you have heaps of time at Ninnaji Temple. Below are the top things to do:

Wondering what else there is to do at this popular attraction? We suggest purchasing an Expert-Led Tour of Kyoto's Gardens and Landscapes.

If you'd like more options, take a look at our Kyoto things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Ninnaji Temple


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Ninnaji Temple

See all 2,145 Properties near Ninnaji Temple
Ryokan Yamazaki ¥5,600
Ryokan Yamazaki

Ryokan Yamazaki

11 Takahana-cho Umegahata Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in the suburbs, this ryokan is 1.9 mi (3 km) from Ryōan-ji and 2.7 mi (4.4 km) from Togetsukyo Bridge. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Utano Station is 21 minutes by foot and Kyoto Narutaki Station is 23 minutes.

    LeBlanc Pension Utano ¥10,101
    LeBlanc Pension Utano

    LeBlanc Pension Utano

    110-5 narutakihonmachi, Ukyo ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Ninnaji Temple, Ryōan-ji, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park. Kinkaku-ji is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) away. Kyoto Utano Station is 5 minutes by foot and Kyoto Narutaki Station is 7 minutes.

      THE LIMELIGHT KYOTO - Hostel ¥7,445
      THE LIMELIGHT KYOTO - Hostel

      THE LIMELIGHT KYOTO - Hostel

      37 Imachi Hanazono, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Uzumasa, this hostel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Ryōan-ji and within 3 mi (5 km) of Nijō Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Heian Shrine and Toji Temple are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Hanazono Station is only a 2-minute walk and Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station is 15 minutes.

        Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel ¥8,561
        Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel

        Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel

        Ukyo-ku, Uzumasa, Nakayama-cho 29, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in the historical district, this hostel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Ninnaji Temple, Ryōan-ji, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park. Kinkaku-ji is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) away. Kyoto Narutaki Station is 13 minutes by foot and Kyoto Utano Station is 14 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 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

            JAPANING HOTEL Kinkakuji Kitano Hakubaicho ¥3,500
            JAPANING HOTEL Kinkakuji Kitano Hakubaicho

            JAPANING HOTEL Kinkakuji Kitano Hakubaicho

            27-2, Kitano Shimohakubaicho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Kyoto, this aparthotel is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) from Ryōan-ji and within 3 mi (5 km) of Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle. Heian Shrine and Toji Temple are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is only a 3-minute walk and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 9 minutes.

              Tsubaki Ann Kyoto
              Tsubaki Ann Kyoto

              Tsubaki Ann Kyoto

              28-4 Nishinokyo Mikoshigaokacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Karasumaoike, this vacation home is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Ryōan-ji and within 3 mi (5 km) of Nijō Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Heian Shrine and Gion Corner are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Emmachi Station is 8 minutes by foot and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 12 minutes.

                Kyoto Guesthouse meguri Enmachi
                Kyoto Guesthouse meguri Enmachi

                Kyoto Guesthouse meguri Enmachi

                13 Hanazono Yabunoshitacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Uzumasa, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Myoshinji Temple and Toei Kyoto Studio Park. Ryōan-ji and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Emmachi Station is 8 minutes by foot and Kyoto Hanazono Station is 10 minutes.