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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.

Make the most of your time at Ninnaji Temple. Here's a list of some of the best activities:

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

For even more things to do, check out our Kyoto things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Ninnaji Temple


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Ninnaji Temple

See all 2,535 Properties near Ninnaji Temple
LeBlanc Pension Utano ¥9,917
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 1.2 mi (2 km) from Ryōan-ji and 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Utano Station is 5 minutes by foot and Kyoto Narutaki Station is 7 minutes.

    Ryokan Yamazaki ¥8,467
    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. Nijō Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Utano Station is 21 minutes by foot and Kyoto Narutaki Station is 23 minutes.

      M's INN SANJO OMIYA ¥4,664
      M's INN SANJO OMIYA

      M's INN SANJO OMIYA

      77-1, Aneomiya-cho Nishigawa, Nakagyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Shijo Omiya, Kawaramachi, and Nijō Castle. Nishiki Market and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km). Nijojo-mae Station is 7 minutes by foot and Kyoto Omiya Station is 7 minutes.

        THE LIMELIGHT KYOTO - Hostel ¥8,402
        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 within 1 mi (2 km) of Myoshinji Temple and Ryōan-ji. Nijō Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Hanazono Station is only a 2-minute walk and Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station is 14 minutes.

          Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel ¥8,555
          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 ¥8,362
            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 Toji Station is 12 minutes by foot and Kujo Station is 16 minutes.

              OYO 44341 JAPANING HOTEL Kitanohakubaicho ¥5,200
              OYO 44341 JAPANING HOTEL Kitanohakubaicho

              OYO 44341 JAPANING HOTEL Kitanohakubaicho

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

                Situated in Kyoto, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū, Ryōan-ji, and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 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

                  Situated in the historical district, this vacation home is 1.2 mi (2 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.