Temples in Kyoto
Temples in Kyoto
Ever heard Kyoto referred to as the cultural capital of Japan? A big reason is because there over 1600 Buddhist temples in Kyoto. With temples, I find it can be similar to Europe, if you’ve seen one castle or church, you’ve seen them all. Although “touristy,” there really are some must see temples. Check out the following temples and choose the best ones for you.
As in the case of many aspects of Japanese culture, Buddhism was also imported from China and Korea. Of course all Buddhism originates from the historical Buddha, Prince Shakyamuni who lived around 550 B.C.E. However, via the Silk Road Buddhism gradually spread from India to China and Korea. Eventually, it entered Japan around the mid 6th century as Japanese monks went to China and Korea and great teachers from both countries came to Japan. This facilitated a great period of exchange between China, Korea and Japan. The original Buddhism that entered Japan though, was more esoteric in nature and reserved for the privileged classes until about the 12th century.
With the rise of the shogunate (military government) though, Zen Buddhism, a type of Buddhism originating from Chang’ an (present day Xi’an) in China, started to be championed by the samurai (warrior) classes and gradually spread to the lower classes. Over the many hundreds of years, many schisms in Japanese Buddhism have developed and these groups have adapted it to suit their own sensibilities.
When visiting a temple
Most temples require you to take off shoes
Suggest socks and easy to take off shoes
Shoes are only to be worn on concrete/stocking feet on wood boards
Typical hours of temples are 9 am-4:30 pm
Entrance fees range from about 300-600 yen
Please be conscious of others praying or other quiet activities
Some temples restrict photos