The work of famous painter, Sotatsu Tawaraya, this gorgeous folding screen covered in gold leaf features the God of Wind and God of Thunder. Drawn in the early 17th century, this piece has gone on to inspire and act as the prototype image of these famous Japanese gods. The folding screen at Kennin-ji Temple is a replica with the original housed at the Kyoto National Museum.
Komatsu-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, +81 75-561-6363
The former Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns is an excellent example of 17th century Momoyama Period architecture. Nijo Castle was constructed to showcase the shogun’s immense wealth and power and the Ninomaru Palace boasts 33 rooms, exquisite wood carvings and elaborately painted sliding doors.
541 Nijojo-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, +81 75-841-0096
Kiyomizu-dera is Kyoto’s most famous temple with its cliff hanging main hall an architectural masterpiece. The main hall is constructed over a cliff and is supported by 18 massive pillars. Amazingly it was built without the use of a single nail and has withstood the test of time, including several major earthquakes.
294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, +81 75-551-1234
Shoren-in Temple has a long and extremely close relationship with the imperial family and is famous for the Painting of the Blue Cetaka (a blue guardian deity of the temple). It is one of only three major cetakas in Japan (blue, red and yellow).
69-1 Awataguchi Sanjobo-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, +81 75-561-2345
To-ji Temple was one of the guardian temples of ancient Kyoto, built to protect the city’s southern edge. It can boast the tallest pagoda in Japan at 57 meters in height, which is also the tallest wooden tower in Japan. The pagoda is a symbol of Kyoto, and dates from the Edo Period (1603-1868), when it was rebuilt by order of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu.
1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, +81 75-691-3325
The Phoenix Hall at Byodo-in Temple in Uji City in southeast Kyoto is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Japan. It is so beautiful that it can be found on the ¥10 coin. The hall is home to the Amida Nyorai Buddha, a golden Buddha towering more than nine feet, which was carved by the most famous sculptor of the Heian Period (794-1192), Masuzo Inui.
Renge-116, Uji, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, +81 774-21-2861