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Discover Kyoto's Geisha District of Gion!
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Reviewed 18 July 2019

Having visited Kyoto over the years, Kenninji stands out as 'the' temple to experience Kyoto and Zen. Being the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, it earns prestige as one of Kyoto Gozan. A visit includes Karesansui, Zen gardens, Zazen, sitting meditation (with extra fee) and to be awed by Japan's national treasures, Fujin and Raijin, the iconic Japanese Gods of Nature, and the twin dragon mural painted on the ceiling of the Dharma Hall.

Unlike Higashiyama Jisho-ji where visitors are often rushed, Kenninji accommodates and encourages one to visit at one's own pace. And with luck, one can even find his or her inner peace :)

Date of experience: February 2019
2  Thank Venus_Martian
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 13 July 2019

We didn't plan on visiting this temple, but as we saw this while we were walking around the Gion area so decided to go in and have a look, definitely glad that we did.

Upon entering the temple, you immediately feel the calmness inside. The little garden inside is very zen.

In addition, there's a large separate building from the temple, and I just said "wow" upon entering the building. There're 2 massive dragons drawn on the ceiling of the building. They're done in commemorates the 800 year anniversary of Kennin-ji’s. Very impressive.

Date of experience: June 2019
3  Thank VincyC968
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 22 June 2019

After walking down from Kiyomizudera, my family and I walked around Gion and found this temple at the end of the road. We ducked into here as it had started to rain and we thought this would be a good place to hide out for awhile.

We had tp pay 500y each to get in and you have to take off your shoes to walk around the building. There appeared to be several smaller rooms linked by long walkways. We were able to look onto several of the rooms and view the coverings on the walls. These people really knew how to decorate as the walls are really beautiful.

I was able to get a goshuin stamp from Kenninji Temple and some souvenirs and we left after putting our shoes back on. On exiting, we found that it was still raining, so on to the AEON Mall for some shopping.

Date of experience: June 2019
1  Thank Cavalierjim
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 12 June 2019

The first time I came here, it was highly recommended, and sadly, I didn't read the translation correctly--they showed a camera with a red-X, so I thought it was one of the famous temples with no photography, so I left. This time, I came with a friend, and he told me they do not allow photo shoots inside. (As another reviewer noted, maybe bring a modest camera, unless you are a professional photographer, in which case, they might still turn you away anyway.) Once you step inside, you see a 2-fold reason for their 'rule'.

On one hand, they have famous works of art, which usually, are not allowed to be photographed, which surprised me, as I've gone to other temples with less impressive visuals, yet the pieces within were so holy, they were not allowed to be photographed. First to be seen is Raijin and Fujin, the weather gods, revered and as old as Shinto. I actually own a replica at home, which surprised me to realize this is where it originated. Seeing the full golden beauty of the screen is breathtaking, even if the room is darkened.

The ceiling art of twin dragons is equally famous. You need to actually leave the area you arrive in, and cross a walkway in red slippers (so the guards know you're not sneaking in), to visit the main temple housing the artwork. Considering it took 2 years to complete for the 800-year anniversary of the temple, it is quite a sight to behold. There isn't a lot of angles to view it, and the available space will be tight on busier days. They don't seem to control who comes and goes, so it is a toss up. The art itself is so well detailed you might strain your neck viewing it.

Back to the interior of the temple, there is a main courtyard and a few side gardens. This takes you through historic areas, art, and stories. They also have a beautiful sliding screen door, which seems to change (with the season?). When I went, it was a beautiful shade of dark blue.

All-in-all, the place must have been famous for photographs with the aesthetic, and the fact the interior courtyard and mossy garden is surrounded by the temple itself. In the end, rather than banning all photography as some temples have, they just don't want photo shoots within. I'd say it's worth entry to see some of the pieces of art, and the peaceful interior, especially since it is available to take pictures of. Nearby Sanjuusan doesn't allow any photographs, and I feel if this temple does get chaotic or packed, they may institute a full camera ban in the future, but let's hope not.

Date of experience: April 2019
3  Thank Vincent Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 6 June 2019 via mobile

This was a strange one, my friend and I visited the temple and were not allowed in because I had with me a professional looking DSLR camera and the (very rude) staff just pointed to a sign saying no professional photoshoots allowed and then ignored us and wouldn’t let us in. I must say this was really peculiar and I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I am sure that some people take liberties and dominate the beautiful surroundings by using it for private photoshoots but we were very disappointed to be prejudiced in such a manner and they dealt with the situation very poorly. Perhaps the lady behind the desk was just having a bad day, perhaps she had an Ex husband who worked for Canon Cameras? Who knows!? 😂 All I can say was that we were both dumbfounded and left the temple feeling very confused at what had just happened. Looking back it was very disappointing but luckily we had planned other activities at other temples which let us in no matter how professional I may have looked...I guess I should take it as a compliment right?

Date of experience: June 2019
4  Thank theGentlemanTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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