Shrines & Temples

    Kennin-ji Temple

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    Kennin-ji Temple

    Honorary hall where works by prominent artists are collected

    Kennin-ji Temple is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.  The temple was started by the Zen priest, Eisai, who is also known as the father of Japanese green tea, with a donation from the Kamakura shogun in 1202.  In those days, Tendai, Shingon and Zen philosophy were all taught here but it became an exclusively Zen temple belonging to the Rinzai sect in the 13th century.  In the Meiji period (1868-1912), it became independent as the Kenninji School and the headquarters of its sect.  Along with two main deities in the main hall, the temple preserves a number of important religious and art works (sliding door paintings, ink paintings, wall paintings, etc.) from the Momoyama period (16th century) that have escaped war fires during its long history.  The most famous and must-see piece is the National Treasure painting, “God of Wind and Thunder”, said to have been painted by Sotatsu Tawaraya.  Every year in April, a special tea ceremony is held on Eisai’s birthday to commemorate his spirit.  This tea ceremony style preserves traditional Zen style tea ceremony to this day.

    Translation to English by AD BRAIN INC.
    Fujin-gaho,December issue,2013


    Name Kennin-ji Temple
    Address Komatsu-cho, Yamato-oji-dori Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
    Tel 075-561-6363
    Hours 10:00-16:30 (Nov.-Feb.), until 17:00 (Mar.-Oct.) *Enter 30 min. before the closing time; Closed on Dec. 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st.
    Recommended Entry: 500 yen