Shoren-in Temple

Attraction Shōren-in Japan 〒605-0035 京都府京都市 東山区粟田口三条坊町69−1 Published on: 29-02-2016

1 hours 30 mins
09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
02:30 PM
04:00 PM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
5.00 USD

Shoren-in Temple is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Shoren-in Temple was formerly the temple of an imperial abbot. It was used as a temporary imperial palace following the Great Kyoto Fire of 1788.

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Why Shoren-in Temple is special ?

Shoren-in Temple was formerly the temple of an imperial abbot. It was used as a temporary imperial palace following the Great Kyoto Fire of 1788.

Shoren-in Temple is a delightful and quiet temple that exudes a palpable feeling of tranquility. It is only steps away from the bustling streets of the Higashiyama District, yet when one crosses the threshold of the temple's front gate it is as though one has stepped back into simpler, more peaceful times

Shoren-in Temple's four gardens are famous in Japan, each attributed to a different luminary of Japanese landscape architecture. The gardens are sometimes illuminated at night, and on occasion are the setting for traditional koto (Japanese zither) concerts.

The temple is well knows for its statues, as well as for its place in the history of Buddhism, being considered the sacred protecting temple of important Buddhist temples in 13th century.

What to explore at Shoren-in Temple?

Shoren-in Temple (established in 1150), just a 5 minute walk from Higashiyama subway station, is an extremely attractive temple. Most impressively, one can enjoy its three different gardens in three different ways. In addition, we can enjoy walking around the temple both inside the buildings and outside in the gardens. This is quite unique in that most of the temples in Kyoto close either the buildings or gardens. It means we can enjoy the gardens not only from the room and corridors, but also walking out in the fresh air. The main garden, called Soami-no-niwa, is a very sophisticated excursion type garden centered around a pond. A miniature hill and the arrangement of trees are perfectly proportioned. It was designed by Soami who also has the rock garden at Ginkaku-ji Temple attributed to him.

Shoren-in temple has beautifully landscaped grounds with ponds and moss-covered areas shaded by camphor trees. on both sides of its front gate. These trees are now over 700 years old.

Shoren-inTemple is a oasis of calm and silence. Its four gardens are a famous attraction and they sometimes host koto concerts at night, in magic atmosphere.

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How to get to Shoren-in Temple?

It’s a 5- minute walk from the nearest subway station, Higashiyama Station on the Tozai Line / Keihin-Keishin line [15 minutes, JPY.260 ( $2.2) by subway from Kyoto Station via Karasuma-Oike]

It’s a 5- minute walk from the nearest bus stop, Jingu-michi bus stop [30 minutes, JPY.230 ($2) from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus number 5, 46 or100]

Selling points

  • Beautiful gardens away from the madding crowds
  • Peaceful and beautiful garden and temple worth visiting
  • The most beautiful temple and garden I've visited in Japan
  • Charming and underrated
  • A beautiful Light-up temple
4 Days 3 Nights in Kyoto

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4.0 days
181.16 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
20 places




Shōren-in Japan 〒605-0035 京都府京都市 東山区粟田口三条坊町69−1

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Tips for you

  • It’s 30 minutes to get to this place, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus number 5 or 100
  • There were several lovely tatami-rooms open for visitors so you should sit on the tatami to look at the garden, before walking through it.
    Things to do
  • The grounds are vast and the temple has plenty of rooms to wander and beautiful views to enjoy the garden.
    What to see
  • You can sit and sip green tea while contemplating the first of its four gardens, enjoying the play of light upon the maple and cherry tree leaves, flowers, and moss. If you are there in the winter, you need to wear warm socks, it is cold in there!
    What to bring
  • You actually get to walk inside of the temple and take pictures of everything
  • You have to take off your shoes and then, following a little itinerary, you can go around on your own.
  • Grade 7-12 students: JPY. 400 ($3.6) Younger students: JPY. 100 ( $0.9) (Free if accompanied by an adult)
    Ticket and Pricing
  • In spring and autumn, they usually hold a special night visit
  • The temple is very nice and has a nice cool breeze. It is quiet and nice to be away from the crowds.
  • There is a small shrine up the hill behind set amongst a stand of bamboo. If short on time, just have a look at the interiors of the main building. They are quite impressive


TripAdvisor View more

Shorenji is a hidden gem among the Kyoto temples, serene and beautiful. It is only a short 5-minute walk from its much bigger neighbor, the Chionin temple, and not crowded. This is the second visit for us to the temple, last spring for the cherry blossom and this time for the autumn leaves. Approaching the temple, I am most impressed by the two gigantic and majestic 800-year-old camphor trees guarding the entrance. I fancy this is where Hayao Miyazaki got the inspiration for his most popular animated children’s fantasy film “My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ)”. Next we were greeted with one brilliantly red maple tree in front of the temple building. The garden is small and beautiful. It provides a serene setting to relax and enjoy without having being crowded. First we enjoy the view of the garden from inside the temple building by strolling leisurely through the halls and connecting corridors and beautifully painted partitions. In the spring, from the Shin-den, you can enjoy the beautiful blossoms of the cherry tree on the left and the orange tree on the right just like the arrangement in the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Then we took a walk through the paths that wind through the immaculate garden, by the Koi-pond, the little bamboo grove and another three big camphor trees. One of the pleasant surprises that we had during this visit is the simple and yet elegant tea ceremony at the Kobum-tei hut that we attended on a wimp. It cost an extra 1000 yen, and it is worth every yen of it. We were greeted by an attendant in her kimono. She guided us to a tatami waiting room and then later to the tatami tea room with beautiful paintings of great crane on the partitions as depicted in the Shorenin website, The ceremony was performed by a tea master and a hostess who converse with the guests, both in their formal kimonos. If you are lucky, you could be seated at the principal guest position and observe the teamaster’s performance close-up and be offered the bowl of tea he/she prepared. The other gusts get their bowls of tea prepared out of sight and delivered by another attendant. The ceremony lasts for about 30 minutes. They are performed only during the spring time and during the month of November. It is prominently advertised at the entrance to the temple. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there was no crowd waiting to attend. Don’t miss the belfry in the corner between two big camphor trees just before you turn for the exit. Ring the bell with a prayer.

A beautiful temple in a area that is filled with numerous temples and shrines in Eastern Kyoto, Kyoto is divided into sections East. West. and Central. Remember to take your shoes off before walking into the temple. There is an area to place your shoes before you enter the temple. The temple have hard wood floors and a variety of beautiful wall art inside the rooms. Besides the art are the beautiful trees which surround the temple and create a natural harmony which is the style of the Japanese shrines and temples that make them so attractive.

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