The 6 Most Beautiful Temples in Kyoto

Kyoto | © mariamichelle / pixabay
Elizabeth Lee

Kyoto is one of Japan’s most important religious hubs. With over one and a half thousand temples and shrines, 16 of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it can be difficult choosing which temples to visit. Here, we make a list of the best off-the-beaten tracks temples in Japan’s most picturesque and historic city.

1. Saiho-ji Temple (西芳寺)

Buddhist Temple

One of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Saiho-ji is a gorgeous Zen Buddhist temple that is a timeless oasis of serenity. This half-hidden temple is famous for its moss garden, which has earned the temple its nickname of Koke-dera, which literally means “moss temple”. With over 120 different species of moss growing, the garden has an otherworldly hush to it that can give you a sense of peace. To enter, however, you must book well in advance, and partake in the Buddhist practices of kito and shakyo when you arrive at the temple.

Opening hours: 6am – 4pm

Watch out for: The atmospheric moss garden

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