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The inner gate of Ninnaji Temple and the mountains of northern Kyoto

Ninnaji (ma) is one of the many great temples in Kyoto which are listed as World Heritage Sites. It is the head temple of the Omuro School of the Shingon sect of Buddhism and was founded in 888 by the reigning emperor. Over many centuries, a member of the Imperial Family used to serve as Ninnaji's head priest, and the temple was also known as Omuro Imperial Palace.

Due to the many wars and fires that ravaged Kyoto throughout its history, none of the buildings from the temple's foundation in the 9th century still survive. The oldest buildings date back to the beginning of the Edo Period in the early 1600s, including the main hall (Kondo), the Kannon Hall, the Niomon front gate, the Chumon inner gate and the five storied pagoda.

A pond and rock garden beside the temple's former palace buildings (Goten)

The highlight of a visit to Ninnaji is the Goten, the former residence of the head priest in the southwestern corner of the temple complex. Built in the style of an imperial palace, the graceful buildings are connected with each other by covered corridors, feature elegantly painted sliding doors (fusuma) and are surrounded by beautiful rock and pond gardens.

Ninnaji is also famous for a grove of locally cultivated, late blooming cherry trees called Omuro Cherries. Because the trees are late blooming, Ninnaji is a good place to visit towards the end of Kyoto's cherry blossom season, which is usually around mid April.

Ninnaji's five storied pagoda and blooming cherry trees

Access

Ninnaji is a ten minute walk west of Ryoanji Temple and just a few steps from Omuro Ninnaji Station on the Keifuku Kitano Line, a small, tram like train, which connects Arashiyama with the Kitano district.

From Kyoto Station, Ninnaji Temple can be reached by direct JR bus. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes, costs 230 yen and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR Kansai Area Pass, JR Kansai Wide Area Pass and a few other rail passes by JR West; however, it is not covered by the one-day pass for city buses. There are buses every 15-30 minutes.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours & Fees

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February), admission ends 30 minutes before closing time

Closed

No closing days

Admission

500 yen (Goten palace buildings), admission to the rest of the grounds is free except during the cherry blossom season when a 600 yen admission fee applies.

Hotels around Kyoto

Recommended Hotels
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
Book:
Agoda Booking

Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: December 9, 2016