Kyoto #6: 知恩院【Chion-In】

Today’s topic is

恩院 【Chion-In】in Kyoto.

知恩院【Chion-In】is famous and popular for its large-scale buildings. It is also one of the largest temples among the many temples in Kyoto.

Needless to say, the must-see thing of Chion-in is the magnificent architecture. Everyone is surprised at the overwhelming size.

Chion-in has two famous gardens, 友禅苑【Yuzen-an】 and 方丈庭園【Hojo garden】, each planted with a lot of trees and flowers. Among them, Yuzen-an has a lot of cherry blossoms and maples, and spring flowers and autumn leaves are stunning.

Chion-In is widely introduced in guidebooks, magazines, and TV, and visitors never stop. Here are some of the attractions of such temples. This time I’ll introduce Chion-in with history and highlights.



Chion-in, located in Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto, is the Jodo sect headquarters. It is based on s草庵【Soan】which is a small hermitage where 法然【Honen】 spent his later life although all buildings are so large that most of the tourists who have never seen before are really surprised a lot.

These large-scale temples were built in the Edo period. It is a temple that has been widely worshiped by generals and ordinary people and is still loved by local residents. There are many historical things and buildings like a national treasure, an important cultural property, and important architectural monuments and buildings.

This is a large Gate called San-mon(gate), which was built by Tokugawa Hidetada in 1621. It has a height of about 24 meters, a width of about 50 meters, and about 70,000 roof tiles. This is one of the largest wooden tower gates in existence in Japan. (Cited from

The inside of Sn-mon is a Buddhist temple, the Buddha statue which are designated as important cultural properties are enshrined, and a dragon and a celestial maiden are drawn on the ceiling and walls. It seems like a majestic world. Ordinally it is not opened and we can’t see inside at all, but we can see only during special exhibitions.

Be sure to look up the date of it before planning it out in advance and don’t miss it!!

Miei-do is the main building, which is designated as a national treasure of Japan. It was burnt down in 1633 and rebuilt by Iemitsu Tokugawa in 1639. It has a length of 35 meters and a width of 45 meters.

It is also a building used for the Buddhist memorial services, it is overwhelming that people, who participate in it, gather in a large room.

Amida-do is a building on the west side of the Mikage-do, and the first one was built in the Kamakura period by 勢観房源智上人【Seikan Bogenchi Shonin】. It was relocated to its current location in 1710 but was demolished because of the devastation and rebuilt in 1910.

This is the Houtsuden, which was built in 1992 and has the role of an ossuary. Chion-In has two ossuary halls, and this is the new ossuary hall. In this building, Amida Nyorai and Shintenno are enshrined.

New one

Old one

Kyozo is designated as an important cultural property of Japan. This is built in 1621 at the same time with San-Mon. This is also a beautiful and traditional building but we are not allowed to see inside. But I think its appearance is enough to be surprised and feel Japanese culture even though you can see inside.

知彗の道【Chie no Michi】
It is said to be a way to teach all the people of all ages and men to live properly with the wisdom of the Buddha.

This is the Great Bell Tower, an important cultural property, built in 1678 in the middle of the Edo period.

That’s all about 知恩院【Chion-In】  Are you satisfied ??? If you have any question and favor, please let me know here or twitter or IG. I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I did!! Thank you for reading !!!!


Sightseeing Kyoto#1: 清水寺【Kiyomizu-Dera Temple】 Kyoto#2: 高台寺【Kodai-Ji Temple】 Kyoto#3: 金閣寺【Kinkaku-Ji […]

・ Open: 9:00 to 16:30

・Admission Fee: 友禅苑: 300 yen (Adult)
方丈庭園: 400 yen (Adult)
Both tickets: 450 yen (Adult)