Places to See at Chion-in

Map of the Temple Grounds

At the foot of Kachōzan, one of the thirty-six mountains in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, lie the 106 large and small buildings that make up the Chion-in, the head temple of the Jōdo Shū(Pure Land Sect). Appropriate for the birthplace of the Jōdo Shū, the stately appearance of the Chion-in welcomes those who visit with a serene air amidst solemn surroundings. Here, we will introduce the places to see at the Chion-in for those who wish to visit.

Introduction to the Buildings on the Chion-in Grounds

Buildings large and small are spread throughout the temple grounds: on the upper level, there is the mausoleum where Hōnen is enshrined, the middle level is occupied by major temple buildings such as the Mieidō (hall that houses the image of Hōnen) and the Shūedō (assembly hall), and on the lower level, there is the magnificent Sanmon (main gate). The following buildings on the temple grounds have been designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.

Sanmon (main gate)
Mieidō (hall that houses the image of Hōnen)
Shūedō (assembly hall)
Kyōzō (sutra repository)
Amidadō (hall that houses the image of Amitabha)
Ōhōjō (large guest house)
Kohōjō (small guest house)
Karamon (Chinese-style gate)
Daishōrō (large bell tower)
Seishidō (hall dedicated to Seishi)
Haiden (worship hall)
Gobyō (Hōnen’s mausoleum)

The Gardens of the Chion-in

On the Chion-in grounds, there are two gardens open to the public: the Yūzen-en and Hōjō gardens. Please leisurely walk through these gardens and enjoy the scenery as it changes with the seasons.

The Seven Wonders of Chion-in

Here, we will introduce the “seven wonders” of the Chion-in, which have been passed down from long ago. Due to the construction on the temple grounds, some of these items are not available for public viewing. (At present, the wasuregasa (“forgotten umbrella,” located above the front verandah of the Mieidō), the uguisubari-no-rōka (“singing nightingale hallway,” located in the Mieidō and Shūedō’s connecting corridors), and the uryūseki (“cucumber rock,” located in front of the intersection of the Kuromon).

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