October 29, 2013

Kyoto : Ninna-ji

There's another attraction within walking distance from Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji, which is Ninna-ji. Eh berapa banyak ji daaa? haha... Well actually ji means Buddhist temple in Japanese.

Both Ninna-ji and Ryoan-ji are slightly off the beaten path since a lot of visitors come to the north-west area just for Kinkaku-ji and straight away go to other areas after they're done. But I decided to pay a visit to this temple as it is designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Niomon Gate

one of the Aun no Nio - the scary-looking guardians of Niomon Gate

Ninna-ji is the head temple of the Omuro School of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Founded in AD 888, much of the temple's foundation was destroyed in wars and fires, but it was rebuilt in 17th century.

The highlight of visit to Ninna-ji is the Goten, which is located on the left once you past the Niomon Gate. One of the Goten Complex structures, the Shinden, was moved to the temple grounds from Kyoto Imperial Palace, but it was burned down in 1887. The present structure is said to have been built in 1913.

the Shinden

 interior of Shinden

Inside the Goten you will also find the Kuro-shoin, Shiro-shoin and Reimei-Den. Kuro-shoin is the formal reception room while Shiro-shoin was used as the informal one. Reimei-Den on the other hand is where the mortuary tablets of the generations of Monzeki (the head priests who were from imperial family) of Ninna-ji are enshrined.

the Kuro-Shoin


Built in the style of an imperial palace, the buildings are connected with each other by covered corridors, and are surrounded by beautiful rock and pond gardens. My feet still hurt after running the Tokyo Marathon but somehow I still enjoyed strolling around the garden. Totally a relaxing day for me visiting all these 3 places. If you love nature, come here!! It's very relaxing and tranquil.

Shinden's South Garden

Shinden's North Garden

Exiting the Goten, and passing through the Chumon Gate, there is the five-storied pagoda. Standing at 36.18 meters high, it was constructed in the 21st year of the Kanei era (1644), making it an important cultural property.

You can go up the pagoda but unfortunately, separate admission fee is charged. It was 600 yen. I thought it was quite expensive so I just passed it.

Walking a little further to the north brought me to the Kondo Hall, another national treasure. The structure was originally constructed at the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1613 as Shishinden Hall where official events were held, and was later moved here.

Kondo, the main hall

Walking passed the Kondo, you will see the Shoro or belfry of the temple. Then, there is Kannon-do, a very old looking hall but according to the information written, it is still used for important religious rites.



Ninna-ji is also famous for the late blooming cherry trees called Omuro Sakura. So if you miss the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, quickly head to Kyoto! hehe.. Ninna-ji is a good place to visit. These cherry trees are also unique due to their lower height and branches that are very low to the ground.

I can imagine how nice is this place in sakura season.

Ninna-ji is open all year round
Visiting hours from 9 am to 5 pm (until 4.30 pm from Dec - Feb)

Entrance fee is 500 yen (Goten palace buildings), 600 yen (pagoda)
Access : 10 minutes walk from Ryoan-ji or you can take Kyoto City Bus #59 to Omuro-Ninna-ji from Kinkaku-ji

Done visiting all three temples, I hopped on Kyoto City Bus #59 to visit Gion. Should be another exciting excursion!



That guardian truly is scary-looking. Kalau malam, mau lari pecut. Lawa garden dia, wonder how it looks during spring/autumn.

rara said...

@Bibie : haha.. memang tak berani kalau lalu tepi guardian tu time gelap.
yup.. the garden mesti lawa gila time autumn/spring. Macam kena repeat je ni.