Ekiando Temple

Once we had come to the southern end of the Philosopher’s Path we came across Eikando Temple, with its grounds and garden being stunning especially with the autumn colours, which turns out the temple is very famous for. The temple was formally known as Zenrinji Temple and belongs to the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism. The temple has a long history of which there are a variety of buildings and a beautiful pond garden to explore. 

Eikando Temple _2

Once we had entered Eikando’s stunning grounds, we walked around the impressive temple main building and followed the path which led to stairs that climbed up the mountain side to Eikando’s famous two story Tahoto Pagoda, which was nestled within the trees in the hillside, overlooking Kyoto. This turned out to be the ideal lunch stop, to have our sandwiches that we had purchased that morning from the Lawsons, one of Japans many convenience stores. As mentioned in our previous article, we often purchase our lunch in the morning, so to eat on the go, saving time and make the most of the day! It was certainly a peaceful and beautiful lunch stop, with a few other visitors also taking advantage of the nice spot!  

View from the Tahoto Pagoda

Once back down from the pagoda we then walked around Eikando’s attractive Hojo pond and garden, which consisted of small streams and waterfalls flowing into the main pond, which had a bridge going across it, this connected a central island of which there was a small shrine. The garden’s trees and shrubs were particularly beautiful with autumn colours.  

Eikando Temple garden and Hojo Pond_2

As well as being located at the southern end of the Philosopher’s path, Eikando is only 15-20 minute walk from the nearest subway station, which takes 20 minutes from Kyoto Station, or is a 5 minute walk from the nearest bus stop, which take 35 minutes from Kyoto Station. 

Please find our other Kyoto articles in the 'Kyoto' section of the website.

Eikando Temple _1

The temple was converted from a villa in the Heian Period (710-1185) which was donated by a court noble to his local priest. The temples original name was Zenrinji “temple in a calm grove”. In the 11th century, the temple had a popular head priest named Eikan, after which the temple derived its current popular name Eikando. Eikan is credited with acquiring the temples main object of worship, an unusual statue of the Amisda Buddha with his head turned sidewards. Which according to legend Eikan was walking through the temple one day, when the statue, which was originally facing forward, tuned its head towards the priest and talked to him!

The Tahoto Pagoda on the hillside of Eikando
Eikando Temple garden and Hojo Pond_1
Eikando Temple hillside_Shrine