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Eikando Temple


Explore this hillside temple which features a statue with an unusual history, connected wooden walkways, a bathhouse and a steam house.  

The Eikando Temple’s main object of worship is a wooden statue of the Amida Buddha, whose head is facing over his shoulder, rather than straight ahead. According to legend, the statue once came to life one day, stepped down from its dais and joined in with the head priest, Eikan, as he was praying. The story goes that when Eikan stopped in surprise the statue turned its head, to tell him he was slow, and stayed that way.

You will find the statue, said to have been carved in the 12th century, in the Amida Hall which was built somewhat later, at the beginning of the 17th century.

The temple is formally known as Zenrinji Temple; zenrinji means “temple in a calm grove”. Nestled amongst many trees and surrounded by ponds and moss gardens, Eikando is one of the quieter temple areas in Kyoto.

Although the temple was founded in 863, the buildings were completed at different stages between the 1600s and the 1900s. If you climb further up the hill, you’ll get to the Tahoto pagoda, a two-storey building with a round second level, built in 1928. From here you can look back down over the grounds and out over the city.

The Hojo Pond is a garden created for quiet meditation and reflection, and is the meeting point of all the streams that run through the temple grounds. The pond is criss-crossed by stone bridges and is a spectacular place to enjoy the autumn show of red and orange maple leaves the temple is famous for. Throughout autumn the temple is open late to the public, and the gardens are lit up, creating a magical scene.

Bus trips from Kyōto Station, the city’s main transportation hub, take a little over half an hour. The temple has an admission fee and is open daily.


Guide to Exploring around Eikando Temple


Lodging Near Eikando Temple

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Ace Hotel Kyoto

Ace Hotel Kyoto

    3.5 out of 5.0
     
     

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto International Manga Museum, Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi. Nijō Castle and Shijo Omiya ...

    Ace Hotel KyotoAU$391

    Hotel Monterey Kyoto

    Hotel Monterey Kyoto

    604 Manjuya-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto
      3.5 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rokakkudo Temple and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Kyoto International Manga Museum are also ...

      Hotel Monterey KyotoAU$101

      Aoi Philosophers Path Villa

      Aoi Philosophers Path Villa

        3.5 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Eikando Temple and Nanzenji Temple. Heian Shrine and Philosopher's Walk are also within ...

        Aoi Philosophers Path VillaAU$1,061

        Ryokan KANADE

        Ryokan KANADE

          4.0 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in Sakyo Ward, this ryokan is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Municipal Zoo and Heian Shrine. Kyoto University and Nanzenji Temple are also within 1 ...

          Ryokan KANADEAU$170

          Park Hyatt Kyoto

          Park Hyatt Kyoto

          360 Kodaiji Masuyacho, Higashiyama, Kyoto
            4.5 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hokanji Temple and Kodaiji Temple. Kiyomizu Temple and Gion Corner are also within 15 ...

            Park Hyatt KyotoAU$1,381

            Teppanyaki House

            Teppanyaki House

              3.0 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Eikando Temple, Nanzenji Temple and Philosopher's Walk. Heian Shrine and Kyoto University ...

              APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT

              APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT

                3.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Gion, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gion Corner, Kiyomizu Temple and Heian Shrine. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Tower are also within 2 mi ...

                APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENTAU$78

                Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto

                Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto

                  3.5 out of 5.0
                   
                   
                  3.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

                  Located in Sakyo Ward, this hotel is steps away from Okazaki Shrine and Okazaki Betsuin. Sen-oku Hakuko Kan and Konkaikomyo-ji Temple are also within 5 minutes. ...

                  Hotel Heian No Mori KyotoAU$97

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