Dec. 07, 2017 UPDATE

How to line up for Ruriko-in Temple’s autumn leaves

Going to Ruriko-in Temple means a lot of time spent lining up, but in the end, the autumn leaves really are worth it.
Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

You need to prepare half a day if you want to go to Ruriko-in Temple since this temple is one of the main attractions during Kyoto’s autumn leaves season. The autumn leaves of the temple reflected on the black table on the second floor are one of the most iconic images of Kyoto in autumn. 


Ruriko-in Temple is a temple in Kyoto only open twice a year: for autumn leaves and the new leaves of spring, and this time we went to Ruriko-in for autumn ones. Ruriko-in Temple is located close to Yase-Hiezan-Guchi Station of Eizan Electric Railway, commonly known as Eiden, so access to the temple is easy. Though in autumn the small trains get incredibly crowded; so crowded, in fact, that you may be forced to wait for the next train going to Yase-Hiezan-Guchi. 


And here you can see the station building, and like I said, it’s not big, but from here you can conveniently get to the temple. We got here a little after 11 a.m. which didn’t seem to be early enough. 


Then we had to line up. At first it seemed like we would be pretty lucky and would get tickets for 12 noon, but just when we got closer to the ticket counter they sold out and we got tickets for 1 p.m.


This means that we had over an hour of time before the gathering time of 12:50 p.m. So we looked at the beautiful autumn leaves of this area, and went to the 7-Eleven close by. 


This is how the lining is done. You go to the line before your starting time to wait, and the line rightmost line gets to go first. As a hint, don’t do like us and go five minutes early. 15-20 minutes early should work out better. 


The reason for the aforementioned hint can be seen here. Even after you get to the temple, you still have to wait in line. All in all it took us about two hours before we got to go inside Ruriko-in. They only let in as many people as come out. 


Finally inside the garden of the temple, the feeling changes completely. You are surrounded by tranquility and even though there are other people, it really doesn’t feel that crowded. 


The garden of the temple is beautifully kept and especially the greenness of the moss looks nice with the autumn leaves. 


Inside the temple building is beautiful, and the view you get to see from the windows is quite breathtaking. 


But the most obvious photo-spot at the temple would have to be this. There is a black table with a smooth surface, and you get to see the beautiful autumn leaves reflected on it. As everyone wants to take photos here, during the peak-time they limit your photo taking time to one-minute per person. So you need to be quick. 


It doesn’t take that long to see the temple, but it is a magical experience. The entrance to this temple is actually 2,000 yen, but you do get a cool Ruriko-in pen for it, and if you’re into temple stamps, you also get a temple stamp for free too. Not to mention that you also get to see the Luis Icart Museum too, for no extra fee. 


All in all, going to Ruriko-in is fun, but you need to some time. Probably the best course of action would to go line up before the temple even opens. When we left the temple around 2 p.m. there was already an almost three-hour wait to get in, so I would like to recommend at least getting to the temple before noon. 

A comment from the staff
Kenji
You can only visit Ruriko-in Temple in spring and autumn, and it’s one of the most popular spots in Kyoto. It was the first time for me to go to Ruriko-in, and boy were there people! But the autumn leaves were really pretty, and so are the cherry blossoms, so if you have time during your visit to Kyoto, I highly recommend you include Ruriko-in in your itinerary!
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