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Main Gate

Welcoming gate
When you first arrive, you will be greeted by the main gate of Nison-in This structure was first built in 1613 at the site of Fushimi Castle and has since been relocated to its current position. As a structure of Muromachi era, it is a designated Cultural Property of Kyoto.  Decorative crests and patterns can be found on the roof tiles of the main gate. These decorations are from the Edo era and were carefully restored during the constructions carried out in 2014.


Maple tree lined approach
As you enter through the main gate, the long straight approach extends out in front of you. This approach, also known as Momiji-no-baba, is renowned for its beautiful autumn colors. Maple trees and cherry blossom trees are planted alternately every 100 meters or so, creating a wonderful tunnel effect of red and yellow leaves in the autumn. With Mount Ogura as the back drop, the approach turns pink in the spring, lush green in the summer and sparkles with frost in the winter. Entertaining us with a different face in each season.

Imperial Envoy Gate

Gate reserved only for the messenger
The gate with an impressive arrow shaped roof leads straight to the main hall. Previously this gate was only ever opened for the messengers of the emperor, but today it is open for anyone visiting the temple to walk through. Knowing the historical significance of the gate somehow makes you feel solemn when walking through it.

Main Hall

Restored magnificence
The two revered statues stand firmly inside the main hall. This spacious Hojo style building is a designated Cultural Property of Kyoto. The original structure was destroyed by fire during the Onin War (1467-1477) however it was reconstructed in 1521 and to commemorate, Emperor Go-Nara gifted the sign of Nison-in displayed here. In 2016, for the first time in 350 years, we have completed a major refurbishment of the main hall. Nison-in has now regained its magnificence, worthy of such a historically significant temple.

Hachisha-no-miya Shrine

For the worship of 8 deities
Through the approach and further west is the main hall. However if you head towards the east, you will come to the Hachisha-no-miya Shrine. Located on the northeast section of the temple grounds and built to protect the temple from any bad influences, the northeast direction is considered unlucky in Japan. Hachisha means eight shrines and as the name suggests, it is for the worship of 8 deities enshrined at 8 major shrines across Japan. As a structure of the late Muromachi era, it is a designated Cultural Property of Kyoto. 


A temple for the goddess Benzaiten
Benzaiten is one of the Seven Gods of Foutune. She holds a pear-shaped instrument called pipa and is commonly known as the goddess of wisdom, longevity and wealth. In Sanskrit she is named Sarasvatī who is worshiped as the goddess of water and harvest. Dragons and snakes are thought to be her servants. We have two rare statues that are enshrined in the main hall, a nine-headed dragon and a snake with a human head.

Belfry (The Bell of Happiness)

Strike 3 times to pray for happiness
A temple bell is hung from the belfry structure that was constructed between 1596-1615. The bell itself was cast in 1604 and was recast in 1992 to commemorate 1200 years since the temple's foundation by Emperor Saga. At the belfry, we ask you to strike the bell 3 times to pray for 3 kinds of happiness; Happiness of being alive, Happiness for the lives around you and Happiness for all humanity. On New Year's Eve, anyone can ring this bell. We have no restrictions on the number of people.

Mausoleum of Priest Tanku

Tombstone above the stone steps
In between the main hall and the belfry are the stone steps surrounded by trees. At the top is the mausoleum of Priest Tanku, who spread his teaching at Nison-in. This tombstone is believed to have been carved by a stonemason in China in 1253. The mausoleum is a structure of the late Muromachi era and is a designated Cultural Property of Kyoto. It's located at about halfway up Mount Ogura, where you can enjoy the views and the clear air.

Misono-tei Tea Room

Enjoy tea at the Imperial Princess’ room
There is a tea room at the back of the main hall that is only accessible during spring and autumn. This was a room used by the 6th princess of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and was given to the Nijo family, then later relocated to Nison-in. Misono refers to the imperial palace gardens. Within the room, there are many delicate touches and details that create a sense of refinement.  Please enjoy the view of the beautifully laid out garden from the tea room and let time float by.

Nison-in Fugenzou

Bloom of a delicate and rare flower
Cherry blossoms are another attraction at Nison-in. Fugenzou is a type of double-petaled cherry blossom and it blooms around mid-April, when the weeping cherry season is coming to an end. There is another variety of this cherry called Nison-in Fugenzou, these can be found inside the stone walled area. Elegant pale-pink in color and with 200-230 petals per flower, this rare variety is said to be the latest flowering cherry and blooms in early May.