Shōren-in is one of the five Monzeki temples of the Tendai sect in Kyoto and is nestled up a side street in the Southern Higashiyama area.
It’s peaceful, sheltered and – for want of a better phrase – a little solemn. I visited on a rainy day in early April and as I sat looked out of the open sliding doors onto the garden I felt (for once) at complete peace. It’s a perfect little sanctuary, and I would have stayed here the whole day had I more time. We also attended a small private tea ceremony here in a tiny tea house in a secluded area of the gardens, which was wonderful and an experience I’d highly recommend. Photos really don’t do this place justice. At one point while we were walking through the halls barefoot, it started to snow. Watching the snow fall in time with the falling cherry blossom was extraordinary. The photos may not do Shōren-in justice, but I hope they give you a sense of why it’s one of my favourite temples in Kyoto.
How to get there:
The nearest subway station is Higashiyama Station on the Tozai line, and Shoren-in is around a 5 minute walk from the station.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Entry costs: General admission: 500 yen // Including tea ceremony: 1000 yen