【2017】Must-See! 5 Temples in Kyoto That Will Specially Open This Fall

There are many temples within Kyoto that are considered to be important Japanese historical or cultural sites. Many of them aren’t usually open to the public. Here are 5 temples that will open to the public for special viewings this autumn 2017.

1. Hogonin A Special Exhibition Of Rakusei’s Prized Garden

A child temple of the Rinzai Tenryuji temple, Hogonin will open their famous “Shishiku Gardens” to the public this fall 2017. It has an expansive go-round style garden* where you can view the natural beauty of Arashiyama. When the leaves start to turn red, the trees take on a vivid color, intertwining into a gorgeous view. They will also host night illumination shows.

Event Dates: Oct. 7, 2017 (Sat) to Dec. 10, 2017 (Sun), Night Illumination Event Nov. 10, 2017 (Fri) to Dec. 3, 2017 (Sun)
Entry Fee (viewing the main temple requires a separate fee): 500 JPY, Night Illumination Event 600 JPY

*A type of garden which has a stroll path surrounding a pond, allowing visitors to appreciate the scenery while walking.

1. Hogonin A Special Exhibition Of Rakusei’s Prized Garden

36 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

2. Kodai-ji Special Viewings During Autumn and At Night

Established in 1606, Kodai-ji is part of the Rinzai Sect Kennin-ji School. It is renowned for its beautiful, vivid red trees during the autumn. During the special night exhibition period, the red-leafed trees and bamboo thickets will light up to form a fantasy-like view. In the past, they’ve used 3D projection mapping and other things in these shows, which have drawn in many people (2017 details are still undecided).

Event Dates: Oct 21 2017 (Sat) until the beginning of December
Entry Fee: 600 JPY

2. Kodai-ji Special Viewings During Autumn and At Night

526 Shimokawara-cho, Kodaiji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

3. Shokoku-ji A Special Autumn Opening

Established in 1392, it is a temple from the Rinzai Sect Shokoku-ji School. Three buildings will open to the public this fall – the Lecture Hall, Founder’s Hall, and the Abbot’s Quarters. The Lecture Hall, one of Japan's important cultural assets, is a must-see! You’ll be able to see the principal object of worship – the Shaka Nyorai statue – as well as the famous Banryu-zu* drawn into the ceiling.

Event Dates: Sep. 25, 2017 (Mon) to Dec. 15, 2017 (Fri)
*No special exhibitions will take place from Oct. 18 (Wed) to 21 (Sat). Functions will be held on Oct. 3 (Tue) to 5 (Thu) and Dec. 8 (Fri), so times may change. You will need to inquire on this.
Entry Fee: 800 JPY

*When you clap your hands inside the hall, the noise reverberating sounds like a dragon’s cry. This is how the ceiling art gained the name “Crying Dragon”.

3. Shokoku-ji A Special Autumn Opening

701 Shokokuji Monzen-cho, Karasuma-higashi-iru, Imadegawa-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

4. Shogoin A Special Exhibition

Established in 1090, it is a temple from the Honzan Shugen School. Normally you’d need to make an appointment to view it, but every year, only during the fall, they allow the public to view it without needing an appointment. You’ll be able to view their principal object of worship, the Fudo Myo-o (important cultural asset of Japan), as well as the Kano Sect’s extravagantly painted room partitions.

Event Dates: Sep. 16, 2017 (Sat) to Dec. 10, 2017 (Sun)
*You can’t view it on Oct. 13 (Fri) to 15 (Sun) and Nov. 28 (Tue). Due to a function on Nov. 29 (Wed), you can only view a limited part of the area.
Entry Fee: Adults 800 JPY

4. Shogoin A Special Exhibition

15 Shogoin Nakamachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

5. Daikakuji Special Treasure Exhibition in The Fall

Daikakuji is a temple with over 1200 years of history. It will showcase several treasures in a special treasure exhibition this fall 2017. You’ll be able to appraise the Godai Myo-o statues – an important cultural asset of Japan that was supposedly used by Kobo Daishi (Kukai) as a part of a recovery prayer – as well as Daikakuji’s famous ancestral sword and other treasures.

Event Dates: Sep. 29, 2017 (Fri) to Dec. 4, 2017 (Mon)
Entry Fee (includes viewing the inside of the temple): Adults 800 JPY

5. Daikakuji Special Treasure Exhibition in The Fall

4 Sagaosawa-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

If you’re going to travel to Kyoto this fall, take a look at these temples!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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