Enkoji Temple

Zen Serenity and Musical Ornaments at Enkoji Temple: A Hidden Gem in Kyoto


Kyoto, the cultural capital of japan, is renowned for its ancient temples and serene gardens. While popular attractions like Kinkaku-ji and Fushimi Inari Taisha draw large crowds, there are lesser-known gems that offer a more intimate and peaceful experience. One such hidden treasure is Enkoji Temple, located in the northeast of Kyoto. This temple, belonging to the Rinzai Zen sect of Buddhism, is a sanctuary of tranquility, boasting impressive gardens, a scenic location, and breathtaking autumn foliage. In this article, we will explore the rich history and unique features of Enkoji Temple, as well as provide detailed instructions on how to get there.

A Liberal Past

Enkoji Temple has a fascinating history that dates back to the 1600s. Founded by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the temple was initially known as the Rakuyo School and served as a place of learning. Unlike many other temples of its time, Enkoji Temple welcomed a diverse and unconventional crowd of artists and writers. It was a haven for free thinking and creativity. As time went on, the temple evolved and became a seminary for women, further cementing its reputation as a progressive institution.

Unique Garden Ornaments

One of the highlights of Enkoji Temple is its collection of unique garden ornaments. Among them is the suikinkutsu, a traditional Japanese musical instrument commonly found in Zen gardens. The suikinkutsu consists of a pot buried upside down in the ground, with a hole in its top. When water drops onto the surface of the water-filled pot, a soothing bell-like sound is emitted. This musical ornament adds to the Zen atmosphere of the temple, creating a harmonious and meditative ambiance for visitors.

Bamboo Forest

While Arashiyama’s bamboo forest is a popular tourist attraction, Enkoji Temple offers a smaller yet equally enchanting bamboo forest. Located just behind the temple’s quaint pond, this bamboo grove provides a peaceful retreat away from the crowds. Walking through the tranquil pathway, surrounded by towering bamboo stalks, is a serene and immersive experience.

Rock Gardens

Enkoji Temple is also known for its meticulously designed rock gardens. The temple features two distinct rock gardens: Jugyuno-tei, a picturesque garden centered around a pond, and Honryu-tei, a dry landscape garden. Honryu-tei, meaning “Running Dragon,” is particularly noteworthy for its unique arrangement of sharp rocks that symbolize a flying dragon. This garden is a visual representation of the dynamic and ever-changing nature of life. On the other hand, Jugyuno-tei is adorned with vibrant maples that transform the area into a fiery field of red and orange during the autumn season. These gardens showcase the delicate balance between nature and human intervention, creating a visually stunning and contemplative experience for visitors.

Getting There

Enkoji Temple is easily accessible by public transportation. If you are coming from Kyoto Station, the most convenient route is to take the JR Nara Line to Tofukuji Station, and then transfer to the Keihan Main Line to Demachiyanagi Station. From there, ride the Eizan Railway to Ichijoji Station. Alternatively, you can take the number five bus from Kyoto Station, which will take you directly to the Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho bus stop. Once you arrive at Ichijoji Station or the bus stop, the temple grounds are within walking distance.

Nearby Attractions

While visiting Enkoji Temple, it is worth exploring the surrounding area and discovering other hidden gems. One such attraction is Shisendo Temple, a serene Buddhist temple of the Soto Zen sect. Built in the 1600s, Shisendo Temple is considered a masterpiece of its time, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens and tranquil meditation halls. A visit to this temple offers a deeper understanding of Zen Buddhism and its influence on Japanese culture.


Enkoji Temple is a hidden gem in Kyoto that offers a serene and immersive experience for visitors. Its rich history, unique garden ornaments, bamboo forest, and rock gardens make it a must-visit destination for those seeking tranquility and spiritual rejuvenation. The temple’s proximity to other attractions, such as Shisendo Temple, allows for a comprehensive exploration of Kyoto’s cultural and religious heritage. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a moment of peace in the bustling city, Enkoji Temple is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, take a step off the beaten path and embark on a journey to discover the Zen serenity and musical ornaments of Enkoji Temple.

Address And Maps Location:

13 Ichijoji Kotani-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

Find Location And Direction On Google Maps

Subscribe, follow travelbloggerindonesia.com