community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-x user-avatar
The Shogunzuka Mound and Seiryuden from the West Observation Deck

The Shogunzuka Mound (R, Shōgunzuka) is located on the eastern mountains of Kyoto on the spot where Emperor Kanmu is said to have first surveyed the valley where he ultimately built the ancient capital city of Kyoto. Keeping with this tradition, Shogunzuka is perhaps best known these days for its observation decks which offer spectacular views out over the city below. The area is part of Shorenin Temple whose main buildings stand at the base of the mountain.

On the west side of the grounds stands the older West Observation Deck built on a rather unsightly structure about ten meters above ground. The west deck offers views toward central Kyoto and out as far as Osaka on a clear day; however, the surrounding trees block the views of most of the popular tourist sights around the base of the mountain.

The best views from the Shogunzuka can be enjoyed from the recently renovated, more elegant North Observation Deck from where visitors can look out over northern Kyoto all the way to Mount Hieizan. The spacious wooden deck seems to float above the trees and offers a mostly unobstructed line of sight from nearly 220 meters above the city. If you look carefully, you can pick out popular tourist spots such as the Imperial Palace, Heian Shrine and Nanzenji below.

The view from the north observation deck

The actual Shogunzuka Mound is said to contain a two and a half meter high clay statue of a general fully adorned in battle armor with a sword and an iron bow and arrow. The statue serves as a guardian talisman for the city and legend has it that the entire mound rumbles when the city is in danger.

Next to the mound stands the Seiryuden temple hall which houses a painting of the fearsome Buddhist deity Fudo Myoo, who is depicted holding a sword and rope, surrounded by flames. The painting is an important object of worship of Shorenin Temple and a national treasure. A reproduction is on display inside the hall.

The grounds also feature a beautiful Japanese landscape garden with maple and cherry trees that display brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange in autumn and pink cherry blossoms in spring respectively. The garden is known for its seasonal illuminations held in the evenings from late October to early December and from late March to early May. During this time visitors are also invited to see the night view of Kyoto from the observation decks.

The garden next to the Shogunzuka Mound in Autumn

Access

Shogunzuka Mound is located at the top of Mount Higashiyama. The area is not served by public transportation. Instead, it can be reached by taxi in about five minutes and 1000 yen from Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line, in about ten minutes and 1200 yen from Shorenin Temple or in about 30 minutes and 2000 yen from Kyoto Station.

Hiking trail up to Shogunzuka Mound

Alternatively, hiking trails lead up the mountain to the Shogunzuka Mound. One trail starts around the corner from Shorenin Temple near the Awata Sanso Restaurant of the Hotel Okura while another leads up the mountain from a trailhead behind Chionin Temple and Maruyama Park. Neither trailhead is easily found. The hike up through the forest to the mound is quite steep and takes about 30-45 minutes. Sturdy shoes are recommended.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours & Fees

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (until 21:30 during spring and autumn evening illuminations); admission ends 30 minutes before closing

Closed

No closing days

Admission

500 yen

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: January 11, 2017