Photo By: Takaya Yamada
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kyoto
Population
2,644,331

Enko-ji Temple

Dear solo travelers, bliss out here. Xoxo, Nature.

Unlike many other fantastic temples in Kyoto Prefecture, Enko-ji is almost guaranteed not to be crowded even though it’s located in Kyoto City. Perfect for that life-changing bout of reflection only a Zen atmosphere can bring, this area is spot on for solo travel.

Once you arrive, take your time to admire the simple entrance, walk along large stone steps and enjoy the peaceful view of the rock garden. The white stone garden (featured in the main photo) is called “Dragon Garden,” as its shape reminds one of dragon flames.

Walking through this first part of the temple, you’ll see a bamboo forest, maple trees and moss. There’s no pressure, so you can really enjoy staying there for hours without interruption.

Photo by: Takaya Yamada The rock path begins your visit to the shrine.

The garden is also known for its suikinkutsu, which literally translates to “water koto cave.” Essentially, it is garden ornament and music device that drips water and creates a sound similar to the Japanese instrument known as a koto — a 13-string instrument similar to a zither.

The temple’s structure is not as majestic as Kyoto City’s Gold or Silver pavilions but is a miniature of the perfect Japanese Zen garden. Travel here in any season, especially for momiji (Japanese maple) leaves in late November and cherry blossoms in the spring.

Meditate now!

Photo by: Takaya Yamada The temple is often one of Kyoto’s least crowded.

The temple started as a school around 400 years ago by Tokugawa Ieyasu, an important shogun (warlord of Japan). His aim was to spread education, as he wanted people to study. Now, as in the past, students are going here to practice meditation. You might even see some people practicing while you’re visiting.

And, you can even join in by sitting down and relaxing on the tatami mats while viewing the exquisite natural scenery. Monks here maintain of every square inch of the grounds, so please respect this space while visiting as a tourist.

Photo by: Takaya Yamada A lovely spot to meditate.

In the area

This temple’s northeastern location means there is a lot nearby.

More sightseeing

Ginkakuji Temple
That includes two other sacred spots: Shisen-do and Tanukidani Fudoin temples. After admiring nature’s wealth and a breath the fresh air at Enok-ji, hop over to Ichijoji Street, the ideal place for solo travelers to head for a bowl of piping-hot ramen.

Dig this scenery? Check out more temples in Japan.

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Trivia

Ginkakuji Temple

Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)

All that glitters isn't gold.

More

Things To Know

Fees

The admission fee is ¥500.

Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 16:30 last entry).

Nearby Attractions

Shisen-do, Sekizan Zen-in, Daionzan Tanukidaniyama Fudou-in

How To Get There

Address

606-8147, Japan

By train

From Shijo-Kawaramachi station, you can take Keihan line until Demachiyamagi station. From there, change to Eizan Main line train until Ichijoji station, then walk 5 minutes.

By bus

From Kyoto station or Shijo-Kawaramachi, the most convenient bus is bus No. 5. 

By car

Around 30 minutes from Kyoto station. (You will find a parking that is a 5-minute walk away. Just follow the sign.)

Where To Stay

Yadoya Lodge
  • Sakyo-ku Shugakuin Obayashicho 14-1 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8081
  • 9.6/10
  • 0.5 km
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Guest House Ichijoji 1
  • 京都市左京区一乗寺南大丸町15-5 1階 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8186
  • 0.9 km
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Guest House Ichijoji 2
  • 京都市左京区一乗寺南大丸町15-5 2F Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8186
  • 0.9 km
Powered by Booking.com
  • 〒606-8002 KyotoKyoto-Shi
  • 9.4/10
  • 0.9 km
Powered by Booking.com