Jizo-in

Kyoto’s Small Bamboo Temple

Jizo-in is a small Buddhist temple located at the edge of Arashiyama in the west of Kyoto, not far from Saiho-ji, the Moss Temple. The main gate opens on a bamboo forest hiding two pavilions of a refined simplicity and a lovely serene Japanese garden.

Even if you already traveled in Kyoto, chances are high that you never heard about Jizo-in temple. Located far from downtown Kyoto, not easily accessible with public transportation, this temple unknown from tourists is yet a 10 minutes’ walk only from Saiho-ji temple, the famous representative of Sagano area at the Unesco. Secluded in a small remote residential outskirt surrounded by nature, the discreet "Bamboo Temple" is nonetheless an essential complementary visit to the famous Moss Temple.

A temple dedicated to Buddha’s disciples

Jizo-in temple, of the Buddhist Rinzai sect, was founded in 1367 by Hosokawa Yoriyuki, a samurai of the Hosokawa clan and close ally of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The temple’s wonderful Japanese garden was designed by Sokyo Zenji and intends to depict Buddha’s sixteen disciples. It was destroyed during the fires of Onin civil war, as many other temples and shrines in Kyoto during the second half of the 15th century. It was rebuilt more than one century later.

In Japanese culture, Jizo protects and guides the weak (stillborn children, but also travelers). Despite bearing Jizo’s name, only a couple of his statues are displayed in the temple grounds and they are certainly not the main attraction here. Jizo-in is indeed remarkable for its atmosphere both spectacular and sober in a rather limited space.

Arashiyama’s secret haven of peace

The stern main gate opens up on a slightly inclined road bordered by a bamboo grove on each side, from which only the sound of the wind is audible. It gives access to Hondo, the discreet main pavilion, on the side of which another gate stands. From this point, taking pictures is prohibited, as it is where the beauty of Jizo-in lies: a traditional house offering an exceptional and unforgettable view on a splendid Zen garden. It is certainly one of the most beautiful landscapes in Kyoto.

Despite its small size, the entrance fee is ranging among the expensive ones for the ancient capital’s temples and shrines, but don’t fail to include Jizo-in’s wonderful landscape in your Western Kyoto itinerary. The possibility to enjoy a visit without any tourist really adds to this delicate temple’s charms. Let’s hope this place’s quietness can be preserved as long as possible.

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Jizo-in photo gallery

  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Path to the main gate
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Bamboo grove past the main gate
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, View inside the Hondo
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Garden
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Path to the Zen garden
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Entrance to the Zen garden
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Garden 2
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Altar in the garden
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Architectural detail
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Architectural detail 2
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Hondo
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Garden 3
  • Jizo-in Temple in Kyoto, Garden 4

Information

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How to get to Jizo-in

By bus -- n°73 (From Kyoto Station, platform C6) or 63, stop at Kokedera / Suzumushidera then 3 minutes'walk

By train -- Hankyu Line, stop at Kamikatsura Station then 12 minutes'walk

By taxi -- Address: 23 Yamadakitano-cho, Nishikyo-ku (Phone: 075‐381‐3417)

Location unreachable with the JR Pass

Get there with a rental car

Admission

  • Adults: ¥500 (~US$ 4.70)
  • Students: ¥300 (~US$ 2.80)
  • Entrance fee and green tea degustation: ¥1,000 (~US$ 9.30)

Get your Japanese Yens free of charge

Opening hours

Open every day from 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

Last admission at 4:15 p.m.

In Japanese

衣笠山 地蔵院 (Eryûzan Jizôin)

Other name(s)

竹の寺 (take no tera: "bamboo temple")

Weather in Kyoto

Today
21 / 25°C
Tomorrow
20 / 31°C

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Official Website (in Japanese)

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Day trips from Jizo-in (Western Kyoto)