Shinnyodo Temple 真如堂
A short walk north from Marutamachi from Heian Jingu and Kurodani Temple in Kyoto is the beautiful Tendai-sect temple of Shinnyodo.
Shinnyodo was moved to its present hill-top location from Mount Hiei about a thousand years ago, though the present buildings date from the early eighteenth century.
The large Main Hall contains the standing image of Amitabha Tathagata, which can be viewed by the public only once a year in a special ceremony on November 15th.
The Main Hall also has other priceless treasures including mandalas, six volumes of the Lotus Sutra, paintings of the Onin War (1467-77), which destroyed much of the city of Kyoto at the time and "the Great Picture of Nehan" showing the death of the historical Buddha, Gautama. This painting is shown to the public in March.
Shinnyodo is especially well known for its maple leaves in the Fall and the Nehan Garden, which utilizes the borrowed scenery (shakkei) of the Higashiyama Mountains behind it. There is a three-story pagoda and a giant bell in the grounds of Shinnyodo Temple, which is rung in turns by visitors on New Year's Eve, a gathering which draws large crowds and has a fantastic atmosphere. Shinnyodo Temple is often used as a film set for samurai dramas as its precincts most resemble an authentic Edo period temple, largely free of crowds during the week.
Shinnyodo Access - how to get to Shinnyodo Temple
Walk north from the Higashi Tenno-cho bus stop on Marutamachi or south from the Ginkakuji-michi stop on Kita-Shirakawa. Shinnyodo is on the east side of Yoshidayama to the east of Kyoto University Hyakumanben Campus.
96 Okiku, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075 761 0535
Shinnyodo is on the east side of Yoshidayama. Walk west back over Yoshidayama to get to Yoshida Shrine and the main campus of Kyoto University.
Tour buses cannot navigate the narrow streets leading to Shinnyodo Temple so you should have the temple to yourself unless you visit on weekends or during the autumn, when the temple's maple trees are in full crimson color.