Sanzen-in Temple

Sanzen-in Temple is located in the Ohara district, about an hour north of central Kyoto. There are a number of smaller temples in the vicinity and Sanzen-in Temple itself has large temple grounds and a variety of buildings, gardens and walking paths.

Sanzen-in is a temple of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism and was founded by the monk Saicho, who introduced Tendai Buddhism to Japan in 804. Sanzen-in is one of only a few temples whose head priests used to be members of the imperial family.

Located in the middle of the temple’s lovely moss garden, the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall is the oldest temple building at Sanzen-in. The hall was first built in 985 and most recently rebuilt in 1143. It holds a statue of Amida Buddha, Sanzen-in’s most valued artefact and a National Treasure.

The temple is hugely popular to visit during the Autumn colours season although it is less crowded at other times.