Anrakuji Temple 安楽寺
Anrakuji is especially beautiful in the Kyoto autumn leaf-viewing season when the stone steps to the thatched gates are lined on both sides by maple trees with full red leaves, but the temple is worth the visit at any time of year and has lovely cherry trees in spring in its beautiful garden and azaleas a little later.
Anrakuji is a Jodo-shu sect temple of Japanese Buddhism. The temple was established in the 13th century by two followers of the new sect: Anraku and Juren. They were joined by two court ladies from the Imperial Palace. This enraged ex-Emperor Gotoba who had the two troublesome priests beheaded.
Sometime in the mid-16th century, when Jodo-shu had consolidated its position in Japanese society, Anrakuji was established as a tribute to its two unfortunate founders.
Anrakuji's main image is one of Amida-Nyorai (Amitabha) enshrined in the Main Hall (Hondo).
The grounds of the temple are lovely and include moss, clipped hedges, stone Buddhas and some smaller temple buildings.
Anrakuji Temple has the atmosphere of a private home to be visited with respect and quietude.
Access - how to get to Anrakuji Temple in Kyoto
From Demachiyanagi Station take a #17, #102 or #203 bus to the Kirinshako-mae bus stop and walk 15 minutes.
From Jingu-Marutachi Station on the Kyoto subway Tozai Line take a #93 or #204 Kyoto City bus to Kirinshako-mae (錦林車庫前) bus stop and walk 15 minutes.
Goshonodan-cho 21, Shishigatani
Tel: 075 771 5360
Admission: 400 yen (during spring and autumn)
Anrakuji is generally only open to visitors during the spring and autumn seasons. Though at other times of the year, try the very small door to the left of the main gate.