Headquarters of the Nanzen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen, Nanzen-ji is one of Kyoto’s most important temples. Established in late 13th century, Nanzen-ji includes multiple major structures and subtemples. The ‘Sanmon’ (Mountain Gate) acts as the grand entrance to the temple complex, leading to ‘Hatto’ (lecture hall) and ‘Hojo’ (abbot’s residence) including its famous ‘karensansui’ (rock garden).
Adjacent to the Hojo visitors will discover one of Kyoto’s more unexpected attractions, a brick aqueduct. Built during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the aqueduct once carried water and goods to Kyoto from Lake Biwa and today is one of the city’s most photogenic landmarks, especially in October and November when framed by the autumn leaves.
The expansive temple grounds can be accessed free of charge however fees apply for entry into the main temples and subtemples. Other notable subtemples including Nanzenin Temple, Konchi-in Temple and Tenjuan Temple. Set against the backdrop of the heavily forested Higashiyama Mountains, each temple is beautiful in its own right and again especially so in autumn.