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Traveling Kyoto in Winter

pictures of

Myoshinji (妙心寺)temple is the largest Zen temple in Kyoto, and has 46 sub-temples on its premises of almost 230 square miles. The temple consists of many gates and Garan (伽藍, temple buildings), creating a representative structure of Zen sect temple.

Among many Garan buildings, a magnificent vermilion lacquered gate called Sanmon (三門) is now specially opened to the general public. On the top story of the Sanmon building, statues of Avalokitesvara (観世音菩薩) and sixteen arhats (阿羅漢) are enshrined. The ceiling is adorned with vivid depictions of nymphs, flying dragons, and musical instruments. The columns and beams are also lacquered in Japanese classical red making the whole building so beautiful.

In Japan, there are 6,000 temples of the Rinzai (臨済) school, and the Myoshinji sect holds about a half of them. Around the Sanmon, Main Sanctuary, and Hattou (法堂, lecture hall), all reconstructed in the modern period, there are many Tacchus (塔頭, sub-temples) creating one magnificent realm of Buddhism.

The total area of the temple comprises the twelve towns of the Heian kyo (平安京, the former name of Kyoto as the former capital of Japan). Kyoto residents love the rich nature of the temple and call it as “West Gosho (the former imperial palace)”.

Date: Saturday, January 6-Sunday, March 18

Time: 10:00am-4:00pm

*Close on 1/31 and 3/8

Admission: 600 yen Access:

South gate 1 mins. on foot from Hanazono station, JR Sagano line

1 mins. on foot from Myoushinji, Kyoto bus No.62, 63, 65, 66, and 67, or Kyoto city bus No.91 and 93 North gate

1 mins. on foot from Myoushinji Eki station, Keifuku Kitano line

1 mins. on foot from Myoushinji Kitamon Mae, JR bus or Kyoto city bus No. 8, 10 and 26



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