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Apr. 08, 2021 UPDATE
Chion-in - 知恩院 -
Traveler Friendly
English brochures are available at the tourist information center at the entrance. You can feel the teachings of the Jodo Shu, Pure Land Sect, as you walk around the temple and hear the sound of Amitabha chanting.
Information
English brochures are available at tourist information center at the entrance
Languages spoken
Japanese only
1164 25 7.0 1 reviews
Apr. 08, 2021 UPDATE

Chion-in

- 知恩院 -
Traveler Friendly
English brochures are available at the tourist information center at the entrance. You can feel the teachings of the Jodo Shu, Pure Land Sect, as you walk around the temple and hear the sound of Amitabha chanting.
Information
English brochures are available at tourist information center at the entrance
Languages spoken
Japanese only
1164 25 7.0 1 reviews
Story & Recommendation
Chion-in Temple – Jodo-shu Pure Land Buddhism, Chanting and Vegetarian Lunches
Located behind and to the north of the Yasaka Shrine, Chion-in is a Jodo-shu Pure Land Buddhist temple founded by the father of the Jodo-shu school, Honen (1133-1212).
Honen’s teachings are often referred to as “Nembutsu chanting” as they require one to chant nothing but the name of Amitabha. When you visit the temple, you may be able to hear temple monks doing a Nembutsu chant.

Chion-in Temple is made up of multiple ancient structures designated as national treasures, including the Mieido hall and Sanmon gate. As the temple is one of very high standing, it also regularly plays host to various Buddhism ceremonies as well.
These include one of the ideal forms of worship, Jodo-shu Pureland Buddhist sermons.

Another interesting aspect of the temple is the fact that it offers traditional Shojin Ryori vegetarian meals derived from the dietary restrictions of Buddhist monks.
These lunches are also provided inside a part of the temple usually off limits to visitors.
If you’re interested, please refer to Notes in the Details section of this article for more information.
1Highlight
Honen Shonin Mido
Honen Shonin Mido
Established in 1635, the Honen Shonin Mido hall is largely used for Buddhist memorial services – which you might be able to see when you visit the temple yourself. Inside the hall, you might also hear the monks chanting the name of Amitabha. Please note that photography is not allowed inside the hall.
2Highlight
The Great Daishoro Bell Tower
The Great Daishoro Bell Tower
Forged in 1636, the Daishoro bell is one of astonishing size and solmen majesty. Known as one of the Great Bells of Japan, the Daishoro bell becomes the centerpiece of the temple every New Year’s Eve when it’s tolled by 17 monks. While the event is always sure to be crowded, it’s worth the visit if you want to experience the feel of Japanese New Year.
3Good Experiences
Visit the Hojo-teien Garden
Visit the Hojo-teien Garden
The Chion-in Temple’s Hojo Garden is centered around a pond and was designed sometime between 1603 and 1700 in the early Edo period. In the back of the garden, you can see a beautiful view of Higashiyama, which is especially gorgeous in autumn as the maple leaves give the whole garden another depth of color. Entrance fees: Yuzen-en Garden: Ages 15+: ¥300lAges 6-14: ¥150 Hojo-teien Garden: Ages 15+: ¥400lAges 6-14: ¥200 Multi-garden ticket: ¥500
4Good Experiences
Visit the Yuzen-en Garden
Visit the Yuzen-en Garden
This garden was created to celebrate the 300th birthday of the founder of the Yuzen style of dyeing, Yuzen Miyazaki. The water in the pond comes from a spring on Mt. Higashiyama and two tea rooms, Hakuju-an and Karei-an, stand discreetly at the back of the garden. Although the tea rooms have not served tea to guests for many years, they are still wonderful places to get a sense of the rich history of Japanese tea ceremonies. Whereas the Hojo-teien Garden is more well known for its autumn leaves, the Yuzen-en garden sports a great deal of magnificent looking cherry blossoms.
- Manner & Tips -
Photography is prohibited inside the temple’s halls. Please be respectful of any signs.
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