Feb. 07, 2020 UPDATE
Yasaka Koshin-do Temple- 八坂庚申堂 -
The temple is located close to the famous Yasaka Pagoda and it’s easy to access. It’s also free to enter and the little monkeys make a perfect background for photos!
Japanese and English.
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Story & Recommendation
The most Instalicious temple in Kyoto, Yasaka Koshin-do
Close to the famous Yasaka Pagoda, you can find a small temple with the official name of Daikoku-san Kongo-ji Koshin-do, but which is most often called Yasaka Koshin-do. The temple known for its monkeys is dedicated to Shomen Kongo, who is said to relieve people of their sicknesses. At this temple, you get to write your wishes on colorful monkeys which you then hang from the temple buildings. The colorful monkeys make for a great background for photos, which is why people from all over the world come to this temple to take pictures in front of the monkeys. This is why you may have already seen pictures taken at this temple if you’ve searched for Kyoto on Instagram. Yasaka Koshin-do doesn’t feel stately, but friendly and welcoming, and this must be the reason behind its popularity. So, it’s time to change into a kimono and go to the monkey temple!
At this altar, you get to see the statue of Shomen Kongo, a deity with healing powers. It is said that on the day of the monkey, the three worms who reside inside a human body go out at night to the Heavenly Court where they will tell about the sins done by the person in whose body they reside, and thus reduce the lifetime of their “master.” This is why people come to Shomen Kongo to pray for protection from these worms.
The three monkeys
You can also see the famous three monkeys close to the temple entrance. Of course, one of them hears no evil, one sees no evil, and the third one speaks no evil. So there is also a very philosophical side to this temple.
Write your wishes on a small monkey
These little balls are actually monkeys, and their feet are tied together to symbolize concentration. If you write your wishes on the back of the monkey, it is said they will come true. How about giving it a try!
Take a selfie!
Yasaka Koshin-do is the place to take your selfie in Kyoto, especially if you’re wearing a kimono. The colorful monkeys in the background will make the ideal background for your Instagram photos!