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Shokoku-ji Temple

A major center of Zen Buddhism, this stylish, ancient relic is ranked as one of the great temples of Japan.

The Shokoku-ji Temple dates back to 1382. Despite several fires and restorations, it still stands tall as an example of ancient Japanese ingenuity more than 600 years later. Its houses are decorated by stunning art, including a sculpted Buddha and a dragon painting on the wooden ceiling. It also contains a museum with ancient artifacts.

Travel back in time on the Classic Tour of the temple’s many buildings, halls and structures. Explore the main hall of the temple and admire the extraordinary dragon painting on the wooden ceiling. Depending on where you stand in the room, the mythical being seems to change in appearance. Discover the charming bathhouse that resembles a sauna. Peruse the Founder’s Hall and its traditional Zen garden. Stroll through the picturesque parkland to enjoy the serene ambience. Browse the Jotenkaku Museum to learn about the site’s history and relish its exhibitions full of paintings and antiques.

There is an entrance fee typical of other temples in the city. Some parts of the temple are open to the public only on a few occasions each year. As in most temples, photography is not allowed in the main hall. The illustrious Kinkaku-ji (Gold Pavilion) and Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) shrines are official sub-temples of Shokoku-ji and are based within 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) either side of their master.

The religious shrine is located in the north of the city, opposite the entrance to the Kyoto Imperial Park and the Doshisha University. Take the Karasuma Subway Line from the city’s main transportation hub, Kyoto Station, to Imadegawa Station. The temple is a 5-minute walk away. Demachiyanagi Station is just across the river to the east. It is on the Keihan Main Line.


Guide to Exploring Shokoku-ji Temple


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