Kyoto Sights

Anraku-ji (Anraku Temple)

  • Shishigatani, Goshonodan-cho 21 Map It
  • Sakyo-ku
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Published 12/10/2015

Fodor's Review

This small temple in the foothills of Higashiyama dates back to the 12th century, when the priest Honen began to preach a novel means of salvation accessible to anyone, the recitation of the name of Amida Buddha (nenbutsu). Two of Honen's disciples, Anraku and Juren, preached this new, at the time heretical, faith in the countryside outside the usual surveillance. Two ladies in the Imperial Court, Matsumushi and Suzumushi, who were also said to be concubines of Emperor Go-Toba (1180–1239), inspired by the teachings, became nuns. Convinced that the monks had seduced the two ladies, the Emperor had the monks seized and beheaded. The court ladies then took their own lives in response, and Honen was exiled as a heretic. When he was finally permitted to return to Kyoto in 1212, the now elderly priest had Anraku-ji built to honor his faithful disciples and their two converts. The tombs of all four are on the temple grounds. The shrine is open in spring to showcase its gorgeous azaleas and in autumn for its vivid maples.

Sight Information


Shishigatani, Goshonodan-cho 21, Kyoto, 606-8422, Japan

Map It



Sight Details:

  • ¥500
  • Daily 9:30–5 in spring and autumn

Published 12/10/2015


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