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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Religious Attractions in Kyoto- Wholly holy trip
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Religious Attractions in Kyoto- Wholly holy trip

Kyoto used to be Japan's capital from 794 until the late 1800s and is currently holding the rank of being the seventh biggest city in the world. Now, what are the religious attractions in Kyoto?


Kiyomizudera Temple

The name translates to Pure Water Temple and is certainly the most popular temple in Japan. The temple was built in 780 and holds a great religious and historical meaning in the Japanese culture since it is located near the purest waterfall of all, the Otowa Waterfall. The UNESCO listed this temple as a World Heritage Site in 1995.



Located in the eastern mountains of Kyoto, this Zen temple was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa and was supposed to be his retirement villa. After his death, the building became a temple and has been one since 1490. Locally known as the Silver Pavilion, the temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens, ponds and has mountains creating the perfect backdrop to the site.


Nanzenji Temple

If you want to see true Japanese beauty, step out of your Kyoto service apartment or hotel and get yourself here. Lined with colourful trees you've only seen in great photographs before, this temple is a gorgeous piece of art and is located at the foot of the Higashiyama Mountains. Highly respected by the locals, this Zen temple is everything you'd expect in a temple that balances your senses. Emperor Kameyana built his retirement home in the 13th century and years later, it was converted to a temple. The best time to visit the temple is during autumn as this is when the trees have the best colours on their leaves.


Tofukuji Temple

If you don't believe in love at first sight, you must visit this Zen temple. The array of trees and the vivid colours on them will surely have you standing with your jaws on the floor. Founded in the early 1200s, this used to be worshipped by the mighty Fujira clan then. People from all over the country flock in to see the trees in their best colours during autumn. Renting out a serviced apartment at Citadines Karasuma Gojo Kyoto, for instance, will let you visit all the temples at ease.


Toji Temple

Founded during the Heian Period, this East Temple is believed to be the guardian of Kyoto. The temple's main hall was destroyed in a fire and revamped afterwards. In the gardens, you can find a pagoda that measures up to the height of a 4 floored building. Every month, the Toji Temple hosts a flea market on its site and you can find everything from authentic pottery to clothes and antiques here.



The unique thing about this temple is that the two topmost floors are covered in gold leaf. This temple was the inspiration for Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion mentioned earlier in this list. Built as a retirement home for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, this place has become a Zen temple too. Kikakuji is also one of the most photographed places in all of Japan.