takagamine & murasakino area

Ninnaji Temple

A quiet and tasteful temple that offers many surprises

Ninna-ji Temple is a historical and cultural treasure located in Kyoto, japan. Built in 888 CE, it holds great significance as the birthplace and residence of Emperor Uda, who later became the first chief priest of the temple. This temple is known as a monzeki temple, which refers to Buddhist priests of aristocratic or imperial lineage and the temples in which they lived. It is also the head temple of the Omuro school of Shingon Buddhism.

One of the highlights of Ninna-ji Temple is the Omuro sakura cherry blossoms. These cherry blossoms are known as the latest blooming cherry blossoms in Kyoto, offering visitors a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of nature in the late spring. The temple grounds also feature the Joju-san Omuro 88 sacred sites, which are a miniature version of the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage. These sacred sites are located on the mountain grounds behind the temple and provide a serene and peaceful setting for visitors to explore.

The history of Ninna-ji Temple is marked by turbulence and resilience. In 1468, during the Onin War, the temple buildings were burnt down, causing significant damage. However, with the assistance of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the temple was rebuilt in the early 17th century. During the reconstruction, several buildings were relocated from the Imperial Palace, which was also undergoing reconstruction at the time. The reconstruction of Ninna-ji Temple was finally completed in 1646.

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The temple buildings at Ninna-ji are a sight to behold. The Kondo, a National Treasure, and the Miedo, an Important Cultural Property, are among the notable structures. The Kondo is a main hall that houses important Buddhist artifacts and serves as a place of worship. The Miedo, on the other hand, is a meditation hall where visitors can experience a sense of tranquility and inner peace. Other Important Cultural Properties at the temple include the Niomon, a gate adorned with Buddhist statues, and a five-story pagoda that stands tall and proud.

Ninna-ji Temple is not just a place of religious significance, but also a repository of cultural treasures. The Reihokan Museum, located within the temple grounds, houses a vast collection of sculptures, paintings, and ancient documents. One of the most notable artifacts in the museum is the Amitabha triad, which dates back to the time of the temple’s founding. This triad, consisting of the Amitabha Buddha and two attendant bodhisattvas, is the focal point of worship at Ninna-ji Temple.

To reach Ninna-ji Temple, visitors can take a train to Omuro Ninnaji Station on the Keifuku Kitano Line. From there, it is just a few minutes’ walk to the temple. Alternatively, the temple is also a 10-minute walk west of Ryoanji Temple. The convenient accessibility of the temple makes it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

In conclusion, Ninna-ji Temple is a hidden gem in Kyoto that offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese history and Buddhism. Whether you are admiring the Omuro sakura cherry blossoms, exploring the sacred sites on the temple grounds, or immersing yourself in the art and artifacts at the Reihokan Museum, Ninna-ji Temple is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, don’t miss the opportunity to discover this quiet and tasteful temple that offers many surprises.

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Address And Maps Location:

33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

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