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Shorenin (˜@@, Shōrenin) is a temple of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism located at the foot of Kyoto's Higashiyama mountains. It is one of the city's monzeki temples, which are temples whose head priests were traditionally members of the imperial family. A winding route takes visitors through Shorenin's various temple buildings and gardens.

Shorenin's close relationship with the Japanese imperial family dates back to the temple's founding in the 12th century. Emperor Toba was a follower of the Tendai sect, whose head temple is Enryakuji Temple in the mountains of northeastern Kyoto. The emperor had his son study under Enryakuji's head priest and built Shorenin as a city residence for the two. Over time the residence evolved into a genuine temple. As an interesting turn of fate, Shorenin once again served as a residence during the 18th century when a fire forced an empress to use the temple as her temporary living quarters.

After entering, visitors to Shorenin first walk through the Kachoden drawing room, which has portraits on the walls and paintings on the sliding doors (fusuma). The drawing room opens up to a garden with pond, which visitors can admire from the building while sitting on tatami mats. Shorenin's other principle buildings are connected to the Kachoden by wooden walkways. The temple's largest building is the Shinden, and its main hall is the small Shijokodo Hall.

The Shijokodo Hall houses the temple's main objects of worship, two paintings that are very rarely displayed to the public. The principal object of worship is a mandala, which is a drawing that represents Buddhist deities and the structure of the religious universe. In front of the mandala's protective covering there is a small jade statue. The other main object of worship is a drawing of Fudo Myoo, a fearsome deity of wisdom who is surrounded by flames and holds a sword. A replica of the drawing is on display at the Seiryuden branch temple on top of the mountain behind Shorenin at the Shogunzuka Mound.

In addition to admiring the gardens of Shorenin from the temple buildings, visitors are encouraged to stroll along the garden paths to get a closer look. From the Kachoden, a trail cuts through the garden up a small hill and leads past a tea house. There is also a small shrine and a bamboo grove. Spread out in front of the Shinden is a moss garden that is surrounded by massive camphor trees. In spring and fall the temple is open for special evening hours, during which the gardens are dramatically illuminated.

Getting there and around

Shorenin is located beside Chionin Temple, a bit north of Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto's Higashiyama District.

The temple is also a five minute walk from the nearest subway station, Higashiyama Station on the Tozai Line (15 minutes, 260 yen by subway from Kyoto Station via Karasuma-Oike), or a five minute walk from the nearest bus stop, Jingu-michi bus stop (30 minutes, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus number 5 or 100).

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Hotels around Kyoto

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    • Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Kyoto, this traditional Japanese guest house features free Wi-Fi and a free public computer. Shichijo Onmae bus stop is 3 minutesf walk away. A seating area and shared bathroom are provided with each room at Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS. Free toiletries are provided and blankets are available upon request. Select rooms have a garden view. A shared living area and bicycles are available for guestsf use during their stay at this Kyoto Guesthouse Compass. Access to the shared kitchen is available upon request. The guest house is 4.5 km from Imperial Palace and 2.2 km from Kyoto Station. Nijo Castle and Toji Castle are within a 30 minutesf bus ride away.
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    • Guest House Oumi
      Budget-friendly
      Well set in the centre of Kyoto, Guest House Oumi provides air-conditioned rooms, a shared lounge, free WiFi and a garden. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen and room service for guests. All units include a shared bathroom, slippers and bed linen. A continental breakfast is available daily at the guest house. Nijo Castle is 1.2 km from Guest House Oumi, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.2 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 49 km from the accommodation.
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    • Hotel Muso
      Mid-range
      Well located in the Shimogyo Ward district of Kyoto, Hotel Muso is located less than 1 km from Gion Shijo Station, a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall and 1.8 km from Sanjusangen-do Temple. This 3-star hotel offers a concierge service and luggage storage space. The accommodation provides a hot tub, free WiFi throughout the property and family rooms. The rooms in the hotel are fitted with a coffee machine. Each room has a kettle and a private bathroom with a bidet and slippers, while selected rooms come with a kitchen equipped with a stovetop. Guest rooms will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV. Popular points of interest near Hotel Muso include Samurai Kembu Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and TKP Garden City Kyoto. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 48 km from the accommodation.
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    • GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station
      Luxury
      Offering air-conditioned rooms in the Minami Ward district of Kyoto, GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station is 1.1 km from Kyoto Station. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel has family rooms. At the hotel, the rooms include a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. At GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station, all rooms are equipped with a seating area. The accommodation provides a laundry service, as well as business facilities like fax and photocopying. TKP Garden City Kyoto is 1.1 km from GLANZ KEI Kyoto Station, while Sanjusangen-do Temple is 2.1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 45 km from the hotel.
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    • Ryokan Shimizu
      Budget-friendly
      About a 7-minute walk from JR Kyoto Train Station and a 3-minute walk to Nishi-Hongan-ji Temple, Ryokan Shimizu is a non-smoking property that provides air-conditioned Japanese rooms with free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom. Rental bicycles are available at an additional charge. Guests at Shimizu Ryokan can experience traditional Japanese-style sleeping arrangements, with futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor. Rooms include a TV, a fridge and a tea maker. The en suite bath has toiletries. Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple is a 5-minute walk away, while Gojo Subway Station is a 10-minute walk. Sanjusangen-do Temple is 2 km away. On-site parking is possible, for a fee. Housed in a traditional gmachiya-zukurih building, the hotel includes a small garden and a hot bath that can be reserved for private use.
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    • Tomoya Residence Hotel Kyoto
      Luxury
      Located in Kyoto, within 400 metres of Kyoto International Manga Museum and 1.7 km of Samurai Kembu Kyoto, Tomoya Residence Hotel Kyoto provides a garden. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Certain rooms at the property include a balcony with a garden view. Guest rooms at the hotel come with air conditioning, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a safety deposit box and a private bathroom with a bidet, bathrobes and slippers. All rooms are fitted with a kettle, while selected rooms are fitted with a kitchen with a microwave. At Tomoya Residence Hotel Kyoto each room has bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a continental breakfast. Popular points of interest near Tomoya Residence Hotel Kyoto include Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall, Gion Shijo Station and Nijo Castle. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 49 km from the hotel.
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    • Hostel Sui Kyoto
      Budget-friendly
      Offering air-conditioned rooms in the Kamigyo Ward district of Kyoto, Hostel Sui Kyoto is 1.2 km from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking is available on site. The capsule hotel provides certain units that include a safety deposit box, and every room is fitted with a shared bathroom with a bidet and slippers. At Hostel Sui Kyoto the rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. The accommodation offers a terrace. Kinkaku-ji Temple is 1.8 km from Hostel Sui Kyoto, while Kyoto Imperial Palace is 2.4 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 51 km from the capsule hotel.
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    • Guest House Ga-Jyun
      Budget-friendly
      A 5-minute walk from Higashiyama Subway Station, Guest House Ga-Jyun features free Wi-Fi at the entire property. The wooden terrace has chairs overlooking the garden. Guests can choose to stay in dormitory-style rooms or in private rooms. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Free-use massage chairs are available at the lounge and a safety deposit box is provided for storing valuable belongings. The shared kitchen comes with a microwave, fridge and an electric kettle. A coin-launderette is on site and luggage storage is offered at the front desk. The property offers a free shuttle service to a public bath located a 5-minute drive away (The public bath is closed on Tuesdays and Fridays). Every Friday night. we have a friday party to communicate with other guests. We serve food and drinks! Enjoy chatting with people from all over the world!!! A simple free breakfast with bread and drinks are served at the dining room. Ga-Jyun Guest House is a 10-mimnute walk from Heian Jingu Shrine and Yasaka Shrine. Kyoto Imperial Palace is 20-minute public bus ride and Kyoto Station is a 25-minute subway ride away.
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    • Yadoya Kikokuso
      Mid-range
      Yadoya Kikokuso is set in Kyoto, a 10-minute walk away from JR Kyoto Station and a 5-minute walk from Shichijo Station of the Keihan Line. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is 2 km from Yadoya Kikokuso. Higashi Honganji Temple and Sanjusangen-do Temple are respectively a 5 and 10-minute walk from the property. Every room is equipped with a flat-screen TV. Certain units have a seating area where you can relax. The rooms are fitted with a shared bathroom. Extras include slippers and free toiletries. There is luggage storage space at the property. Samurai Kembu Kyoto is 2 km from Yadoya Kikokuso, while Tofuku-ji Temple is 2 km away. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 37 km from the property.
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    • Malda Kyoto
      Luxury
      Well set in the centre of Kyoto, Malda Kyoto provides air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant and free WiFi. The property is around 1.5 km from Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall, 2.2 km from Nijo Castle and 2.3 km from Shoren-in Temple. Heian Shrine is 2.4 km from the hotel and TKP Garden City Kyoto is 2.9 km away. All guest rooms at the hotel are equipped with a seating area. All units include a private bathroom, slippers and bed linen. An Asian breakfast is available daily at Malda Kyoto. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kyoto International Manga Museum, Samurai Kembu Kyoto and Gion Shijo Station. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 49 km from Malda Kyoto.
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