Kennin-ji (The Oldest Zen Temple), Kyoto

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Kennin-ji Temple is located in the immediate vicinity of the ornate Gion, the head temples of the Rinzai sect Kenji temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. It is opened by Eisai Zen master who was the founder of Rinzai sect and boasts the third formality in Kyoto Gozan (the five great Zen temples of Kyoto). There are many sub-temples in the vast precincts and it is famous for possessing many cultural assets including “Fujin Raijin-zu byobu” (The folding screens of Wind God and Thunder God).
The premises of Kennin-ji Temple are wide and the temple buildings are magnificent. Just a round of the temple buildings, it will take some time. Because Kennin-ji Temple was often hit by battle, the building of the time of construction was not left. However, from the end of Warring States Period to the Meiji era, the temple was settled by rebuilding and relocation from other temples. Many buildings are designated as important cultural assets, which is worth a visit.
Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, owns a lot of Temple treasure. Especially famous is “Fujin Raijin-zu byobu” which is designated as a national treasure. Currently, the folding screen that is on display at Kennin-ji Temple is an elaborate replica, but still it has a powerful beauty from the golden appearance that is lighted up. In addition, a lot of “Fusuma-e” (sliding screen paintings) and soryu-zu (drawing of two dragons) drawn on the ceiling of Hatto (Lecture Hall) are a must-see.


It seems that you usually see the picture of the national treasure grade in a museum, but you can see it while keeping its state as Momoyama era facing the garden which is widely opened in the Kennin-ji temple.


Thanks to a high definition digital replication technology, they realized such a thing as one of the commemorative projects of 800 years from the death of Eisai Zenji.
Without worrying about deterioration by ultraviolet rays or the dust, you can confront a picture at this Japanese place in the present age


The figure of the “Fujin-Raijin zu Byoubu” (“Picture of god of the wind and god of thunder in folding screen”) is important in Japanese history of art. This picture drew by Sotatsu Tawaraya is said to be the symbol of Rimpa (Rimpa school of painting), and welcome when you enter the temple at the very beginning.


This dragon is the thing which was drawn in the Heisei era, but it seems to melt into the building of the sermon hall as if it lived here from old days. The size of the dragon may not appeal because a sermon hall is big, but its area is equivalent to 108 pieces of tatami mats (Approximately 200 square meter).


The dragon is said to be “God controlling water”. It seems that they quietly watch over the temple and people from the sky.

The Zen meditation classes and copying sutras classes are started at 8:00 a.m. of second Sunday every month. It seems that you can experience it without reservation.



Name:Kennin-ji (The Oldest Zen Temple Kenninji)
Adresse:Komatsu-cho 584, Yamato Oji Dori Shijo Sagaru, Higasiyama-ku, Kyoto-city Kyoto 605-0811 Japan
Access:Keihan Railway line "Gion-shijo-eki Station” (7 minutes walk)
Tel:(+81) 75-561-6363
Price/Charge:500 yen (Adult)
300 yen (High School Students or Under)
200 yen (Elementary School Children)
Free (Preschool Children)
Please refer the official web page.
Official site:

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