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Nisonin Temple

Nison-in Temple offers a serene and peaceful environment where visitors can escape the outside world and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.

By Abhijit Sen

The Tendai sect temple of Nisonin is situated in the Arashiyama region of Kyoto, at the foothills of Mount Ogura. It was constructed by the renowned priest Jikaku-Daishi between 834 and 848 under Emperor Saga’s command and has since become a significant spiritual site and attracts visitors from all over the world.

What’s in a Name

Photo by: PIXTA/ shiii The temple’s formal name is Ogurayama Nisonin Kadaiji.

The Nisonin Temple is particularly famous for its two revered statues, namely Shaka Nyorai and Amida Nyorai, which are collectively known as “Nison.” These statues are considered to be of immense cultural and historical value and have been designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. The temple’s formal name is Ogurayama Nisonin Kadaiji.

Upon arrival at Nisonin, visitors are welcomed by the main gate, which dates back to the Muromachi era and is a designated Cultural Property of Kyoto. The roof tiles of the gate are adorned with decorative crests and patterns.

An Unforgettable Path

nisonin temple

Photo by: PIXTA/ 気ままに Momiji-no-baba boasts of a spectacular display of autumnal colors.

Upon entering through the main gate, an elongated straight path, known as Momiji-no-baba, extends ahead, boasting a spectacular display of autumnal colors. The path is adorned with maple and cherry blossom trees, creating a breathtaking tunnel effect of vibrant red and yellow leaves. Backdropped by Mount Ogura, the path radiates pink hues in spring, a lush green canopy in summer, and glistens in frost during winter, treating visitors to a different spectacle each season. The path is the perfect spot to capture some of the most stunning photos and keep them as unforgettable memories.

Temple Buildings and Unique Statues

nisonin temple

Photo by: PIXTA/farmer The temple’s main hall.

The site includes several buildings, such as the main hall, imperial envoy gate, Hachisha-no-miya shrine, a belfry, and the mausoleum of the Priest Tanku. The main hall is designed in the Hojo style and is a designated Cultural Property of Kyoto. Although the original structure was destroyed in a war, it was rebuilt in 1521. The hall houses two brilliant statues painted in gold, crystal eyes; the two figures stand together to watch over the temple grounds and the people who visit them.

In the area, there is a temple called Benten-do, dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten. She is known for being the goddess of wisdom, longevity, and wealth. Her Sanskrit name is Saraswati, and she is known as the goddess of knowledge, music, and creativity. The main hall of the temple features two unique statues of a nine-headed dragon and a snake with a human head.

Overall, the Nisonin Temple is a must-visit for those seeking spiritual solace and cultural enrichment. Its rich history, serene surroundings, and significant cultural artifacts make it a unique and memorable destination.

Things To Know


Jojakko-ji Temple

Another hidden gem of Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. The 16th-century temple boasts over 200 maple trees and offers a serene atmosphere for relaxation and reflection. With its stunning architecture, lush gardens, and panoramic views of the surrounding area, Jojakkoji temple is also a must-see destination.


The temple is open from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Admission fees for adults is ¥500 and free for children up to 12 years old.

How To Get There


By train

It is a 10-minute walk from Saga-shakudo-mae bus stop, a 15-minute walk from Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Railways) and a 19-minute walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station.

Where To Stay

Suiran Luxury Collection Hotel Kyoto
  • 12 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥135,530 - ¥316,600
  • 3/5 (17 reviews)
  • 0.9 km
Kyoto Ranzan
  • 33 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥18,150 - ¥58,080
  • 4.14/5 (1,769 reviews)
  • 1.0 km
Homm Stay Nagi Arashiyama Kyoto by Banyan Group
  • 17-4 Sagatenryuji Wakamiyacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8371 Japan
  • ¥42,140 - ¥87,240
  • 4.67/5 (8 reviews)
  • 1.1 km
Muni Kyoto by Onko Chishin
  • 3 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥101,400 - ¥288,600
  • 1.1 km
Guesthouse Atagoya
  • 4-27 Sagatenryuji Kurumamichicho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8373 Japan
  • ¥8,500 - ¥12,000
  • 4/5 (7 reviews)
  • 1.1 km

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