Ninnaji - Kyoto

Ninnaji (仁和寺) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyoto Prefecture, located at 33 Omurooucchi, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City.

Ninnaji (仁和寺)

Ninnaji Details


According to the written record, the construction of Ninnaji began at the request of Emperor Kouko in the second year of Ninna (886). It was supposedly called Nishiyama Gogonji but sadly the emperor unexpectedly died before the temple was finished.

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji - Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

His son, Emperor Uda, fulfilled his father's wishes and completed the project in 888. The temple was eventually named Ninnaji after the era name. Later in his life, Emperor Uda would decide to be a monk. In the year 900, he abdicated the throne and entered the Buddhist priesthood. He founded a temple in the Ninnaji vicinity called Omuro. Because of this, Ninnaji was also referred to as Omuro Gosho

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's Eastern Gate

Vicinity map of Ninnaji

Ninnaji's 中門
Ninnaji's 中門

Ninnaji (仁和寺)

After his death, the descendants of Emperor Uda would serve as the Betto of Ninnaji for generations. Since then, the temple has been regarded as a temple for the children of the imperial family. It was only after the Meiji Restoration that this tradition ended. 

Structures in Ninnaji's vicinity

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
仁和寺 五重塔

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's Kannondo

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's Temizu

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's Belltower (鐘楼)

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's Hondo (Main Buddha Hall)

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninna-ji Kyōzō (経蔵)

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's Sayuden

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Kusho-Myojin Shrine Honden (九所明神)

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
The shrine inside the Kusho-Myojin Shrine Honden (九所明神)

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's 36.18m pagoda

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Ninnaji's 仁和寺 二王門

Sadly, Ninnaji was not spared from the destruction caused by Mother Nature and mankind. The temple was burned down several times and none of its oldest structures survived. At present, the oldest buildings in the vicinity are the Kondo, the Kannon Hall, the Niomon front gate, the five-story pagoda, and the Chumon Inner Gate which were all constructed in the early 1600s during the Edo Period. 

Ninnaji (仁和寺)

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Another vicinity map of Ninnaji 

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
仁和寺 白書院

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
Going to 仁和寺 御 所 庭園 南庭

Ninnaji (仁和寺)

I got to visit Ninnaji for the first time during my solo backpacking trip to Kyoto City and Osaka last January 14, 2022, which was my 74th day in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. The temple was actually the last destination in Kyoto that I visited during my trip. 

Ninnaji (仁和寺)
The Backpack Adventures visits Ninnaji

I have already researched about Ninnaji years back but failed to visit it during my second (2018) and third (2019) trip to Kyoto City with my family. Although Ninnaji is a very popular destination during springtime, I still came to see how it looks when it is covered in snow. I also made sure to get a goshuin or temple for my goshuin collection.  

Ninnaji Admission Fee

Visitors need to pay a 500 yen admission fee to explore the Goten Palace buildings. However, the rest of Ninnaji's grounds are FREE to explore except for cherry blossom season when they charge a 500 yen admission fee to the whole temple grounds. 

Ninnaji Operating Hours

Ninnaji is open from 9AM - 5PM except for December - February when its closing time is 4:30PM.

Why visit Ninnaji?

If you're a big fan of hanami or flower viewing, then Ninnaji should be on your list of places to visit during cherry blossom season. It offers one of the most scenic hanami spots in Kyoto City. 

Getting to Ninnaji

From Kyoto Station, head to Karasuma Nanajo bus stop and ride bus #26 to Omuro Ninnaji. From there, you can reach Ninnaji on foot.

Travel time: 52 minutes
Fare: 230 yen




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