February 8, 2019

by Haruko Ishii and Mai Kobayashi

Arashiyama is a very popular spot in Kyoto thanks to its history, nature, and clean air. Tenryuji is one of the famous temples here and was registered as a world heritage site in 1994. Kyoto has a lot of temple and shrine which was registered as a world heritage. In this article, we focus on Tenryuji.

Gate of Tenryuji

Inside the temple grounds

The temple’s garden was made by Musou Soseki. Musou Souseki is Japanese priest. He had been lived from 1275 to 1351. This garden is Japanese style and karesansui. This word means the ‘expression of water flow through rocks and sand.’  The view of this garden changes each season. In spring, you can see the view of cherry blossoms. Autumn is especially beautiful because you can see the red, green and yellow leaves. In the autumn season, are a lot of people visit Arashiyama and Tenryuji, not only oversea tourists but also Japanese people. A good time to visit is in the morning and in mid-November.

If you visit in the early morning, you can feel at one with the beautiful nature: the sound of water, the warmth of the sunrise, the natural sound of trees, the smell of the trees and so on. Try sitting on the tatami closing your eyes and feel the nature. Inside the main hall, there is a painting of a ‘cloud dragon’ on the ceiling. You can see it just on Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and the special public day in spring and autumn. The painting of the dragon is very big and beautiful. If you go the inside Tenryuji, you have to pay cash. Adults (high school student and older), pay 500 yen, elementary school and junior high school students pay 300 yen, and younger children go in for free.


Garden of Tenryuj



Akusejo of Tenryuji

An akusejo is the certificate of the temple. The meaning of certification is the evidence of visiting. You can do this at any temple, but each place has its own book design to collect them.

akusejo of Tenryuji have been starting from the Edo period (1603 to 1867). Originally, akusejo was the stamp that people could receive from a temple when they hand-copied sutras for temples and shrines. The akusejo includes the name of the temple, the date of the visit, and kakuou-houden(覚王寶殿) which means ‘to go and worship’. Kakuou (覚王)means ‘to respect Buddha’ and houden(寶殿) means the temple building where Buddhist images are enshrined for worshipping Buddha. Nowadays, people present their books to the staff of the temple who write these phrases in their own hand writing to mark their visit to the shrine.


Event of Tenryuji

There are event in Tenryuji. Especially I recommend to participate Zazen(坐禅). The reason why Japanese people do Zazen is finding yourself. In order to live the way you want, Japanese people practice Zazen. If you practice Zazen, you can take stresss-free life.

There are three points when you practice Zazen. First, you have to prepare your bodies. Second, ajust your posture and third, ajust your breathing. You can practice Zazen at Tenryuji every second month Sunday and 9am to 10am. You don’t need appointment and entry fee. However, in February, July and August don’t hold.


Getting to Tenryuji


There are three ways to get there. The first is by bus and takes about 30 minutes from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama Station. There are many buses going to Arashiyama, but the most direct bus is number 28. The number and the Chinese characters“嵐山”are on the front of the bus. A one-way adult ticket costs 230 yen, children are half-price, and of course, babies can ride for free. If you intend to take buses all day, you could get the all-day ticket which costs 600 yen.

The other way is that you can go by train. First, take the JR train from Kyoto Station to Saga Arashiyama Station. It takes about 20 minutes. Change here to the Randen Line and get off at Arashiyama Station. It takes about 2 minutes. If you get off Randen, you could arrive Tenryuji by going to the right.

Alternatively, you can ride the train from Kyoto Station to Shijo Station. Then, change to the Hankyu Line from Karasuma Station to Katsura Station. Finally, you have to change the train at Katsura Station to the Arashiyama Hankyu Line and get off at Arashiyama Station.

Once you arrive, there are many shops in Arashiyama and there is also the famous Togetsukyou Bridge. If you use the Hankyu Line to go to the Tenryuji, you have to cross the bridge and go straight.


There are many famous temples and places to enjoy in Kyoto, but if you want to feel the natural beauty of Japan, put Tenryuji on your list!



Gozyu-no-to(五重塔)in Kyoto


〜Five Storied Pagoda〜

Saki Hirobayashi
Ikumi Maeda
Ryoya Miura


Kyoto has four five-storied pagodas, which are located in temples around the city: Hokan-ji, Daigo-ji, To-ji and Ninna-ji. All of them are significant buildings in Japan and have been added to the World Heritage List. They have five roofs, and each roof has a special meaning. Going from the bottom roof upwards: ‘round’, ‘water’, ‘fire’, ‘wind’ and ‘sky’. The meanings depict each worldview and express the universe in Buddhism. We highly recommend you go to these pagodas to feel each worldview. Well, let’s take a look at each one.



Five Storied Pagoda in Hokanji

Hokan-ji Temple is located in the traditional area of Higashiyama in Kyoto. Its pagoda is called Yasaka-no-to. It was built in 1440, and the height is 46 meters. Yasaka-no-to is the oldest pagoda in Kyoto and the third highest in Japan. The Higashiyama area doesn’t have a lot of tall buildings, so the pagoda is a landmark in the Higashiyama area. Yasaka-no-to is surrounded by traditional Japanese-style houses so if you go there, you can feel the history of this area.

To Yasaka-no-to takes about 25 minutes by foot from Kawaramachi. The area around Kawaramachi is quite lively and wonderful so you can go to Yasaka-no-to from there by walking while doing some nice sightseeing. Of course, you can go there by bus too. Visitors should make an appointment to go to Yasaka-no-to. Please contact there directly: Tel & Fax: 075-5512-417 (10:00am-4:00pm).



〒605-0862 388 Kiyomizu-yasaka-jomati, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto-prefecture ℡:075‐5512‐417



From Kyoto Station: Kyoto City Bus No.100, No.206

Get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Higashiyama-Yasui and walk for 5 minutes.


From Kawaramatchi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi): Walk for 25 minutes, or take Kyoto City Bus No. 207 and get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Higashiyama-Yasui and walk for 5 minutes.



Five Storied Pagoda in Toji


To-ji Temple is located in Minami-ku, near Kyoto Station. It was built in 1644; however, it has been rebuilt many times. The current structure is the fifth version. Its height is 55 meters, making it is the highest Japanese wooden building in Japan. You can see a super nice view of autumn leaves and feel the power of this five-storied pagoda in the autumn season. There are lots of tourists at that time as it is the best season for visiting this pagoda in Toji. We absolutely recommend you go there in the autumn. Of course, you can have a good experience in other seasons too!



〒601-8473 1 Kujo-Mati, Minami-ku, Kyoto city

TEL. 075-691-3325 / FAX. 075-662-0250



From Kyoto Station

By train: Take the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 2 minutes. Get off at Toji Station and walk for 7 minutes.


From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

By train: Get on the Keihan Line for 9 minutes. Get off at Tanbabashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 7 minutes. Get off at Toji Station and walk for 7 minutes.

By bus: Kyoto City Bus No. 207

Get off at Kujo-Kintetsu-mae and walk for 7 minutes.



Ninna-ji is a temple that was established in 888 and is now the head temple of the Shingon faction. Shingon faction is a religion that was established in the 9th century by Kukai, who was a Japanese poet. In the precincts, there is the five-storied pagoda and a two-way gate. The best view of the cherry tree is in April. The contrast between the five-storied pagoda and the cherry tree is stunning. In 1994, Ninna-ji was registered as a World Heritage Site. Historically, this temple had a good relationship with royal and aristocratic people. Many royal and aristocratic people visited here to enjoy the view and to soothe their mind. It has also been written about in Japanese poetry. It has been popular for many centuries.



〒616-8092 Omurooouchi33, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, TEL/075-461-1155, FAX/075-464-4070



From Kyoto Station

By train: Get on the JR Sagano Line for 11 minutes. Get off at Hanazono Station and walk for 20 minutes.


From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

Take Kyoto City Bus No. 59, get off at Omuro Ninnaji and walk for 6 minutes.




Daigo-ji Temple was established in 874 and in 1994 it was registered as a World Heritage Site. Buddhist images, old rare books and pictorial art of this temple are well-known all over the world. There are about 15,000 national treasures from the middle ages in this temple. The five-storied pagoda in this temple was built in 951. This is the third oldest five-storied pagoda in Japan. The height of this pagoda is 37.44 meters and is also one of the highest pagodas in Japan. Due to its long history and height, this temple is designated as a national treasure. Also, Daigo-ji Temple is famous for its extensive grounds, so there is not only the five-storied pagoda to enjoy but also you the other buildings that are national treasures.



〒601-1325 Higashioojityou22, Daigo, Fushimiku, TEL:075-571-0002, FAX:075-571-0101



From Kyoto Station

Get on the Kyotosiei Karasuma Line for 5 minutes and change trains at Karasuma Oike Station. Get on the Kyotosiei Touzai Line for 21 minutes. Get off at Daigo Station and walk for 15 minutes.


From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

By train: Get on the Keihan Line for 9 minutes. Get off at Tanbabashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 7 minutes. Get off at Toji station and walk for 7 minutes.

By bus: Take Keihan Bus No.84 and get off at Nakayamadanchi and walk for 14 minutes.


These four pagodas are located around the center of Kyoto City so you can visit all of them in one day. To do this, here is a recommended route. Leave Kyoto Station to go to Ninna-ji in the morning. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus. Next, leave Ninna-ji to go to Hokan-ji. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus and change to the subway. Next, leave Hokan-ji to go to Daigo-ji. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus. Finally, leave Daigo-ji to go to To-ji. It takes 60 minutes by subway and train. There are many ways to go these pagodas, but a big recommendation to buy the One-day ticket for the city buses and subway. You can buy this ticket for 900 yen. If you use this ticket, the total cost of this tour will only be 1300 yen.


Model plan

9:00 Kyoto City

↓City bus No. 26

10:00 Ninna-ji (60min)

↓City bus No. 26 and change to bus No.207 at Shijyo-Karasuma

12:00 Hokan-ji (60min)

13:00 Lunchtime: Around Hokan-ji (60min)

↓Subway Tozai Line

15:00 Daigo-ji (60min)

↓Subway Tozai Line and change to the Karasumi Line, then change to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line.

17:00 To-ji (60min)

↓Kintetsu Kyoto Line

19:00 Kyoto Station


If you visit these pagodas, you can not only enjoy viewing them but also their beautiful and historic surroundings. We hope you enjoy your trip around these national treasures!

Kyoto’s Retro Trolley:The Keifuku Line

by Ikuyo Hayashi

Would you like to ride Kyoto’s retro trolley? And also avoid the heavy traffic in Kyoto’s tourist seasons of spring and fall? The Keifuku train is your best transport for visiting the western Kyoto area. It is, in fact, the only streetcar left in Kyoto, the city that built Japan’s first line, which began running in 1895 and grew into a broad network of electric trams that served passengers until 1971. Diesel buses replaced nearly all of the streetcars, but the Keifuku train still runs every 15 minutes from the center of Kyoto to the western area without delays. While riding the nostalgic Keifuku train to temples, shrines and other beautiful spots you can enjoy the calm scenery of daily life in Kyoto.


The Keifuku train has two lines: The Arashiyama line and the Kitano line. The main Arashiyama line runs between Shijo-Omiya Station and Arashiyama Station, and the Kitano line (a branch) starts farther north, from Kitano-Hakubaicho Station, and also heading westward, joins the main line in the middle at Katabiranotsuji Station, where you can get off and easily transfer.

How to get on the Tram

Entry to the train is through the back door, and exit is via the front door just the same as with Kyoto’s city buses. The Keifuku charges a flat fare of 200 yen (100 yen for children.) You can also pay by kaisu-ken (a book of discount tickets). The four main stations (Arashiyama, Katabiranotsuji, Shijo-Omiya, Kitano-Hakubaicho) have ticket gates, so you pay the fare to the ticket examiner at the station, who gives you a ticket. The other stations do not have ticket examiners, so when you get off, drop the coins or kaisu-ken into the clear plastic receptacle on top of the machine right next to the front door of the tram. The machine can also give change for 100-yen and 500-yen coins or 1000-yen notes.


Randen* 1-day round trip ticket (*the Keifuku train is also called “Randen”)
You can get on and off the Keifuku train anywhere for one day.
500 yen (250 yen for children)
Includes 26 discount tickets for temples and shrines along the Keifuku lines.
Kyoto Subway and Randen 1-day ticket
You can get on and off the Kyoto subway and Keifuku train for one day.
1000 yen (only for adults)
Kaisu-ken (the book of discount tickets)
2000 yen (1000 yen for children) for 11 tickets
All tickets are available at the four main stations of the Keifuku train: Arashiyama, Katabiranotsuji, Shijo-Omiya, and Kitano-Hakubaicho. A round-trip ticket is useful for saving money

Cherry blossom tunnel

Spring may be the best season to use the Keifuku train. It is worthwhile visiting many temples and shrines just to see beautiful cherry blossoms near the Keifuku train stations. The branch Kitano line in particular offers you beautiful scenery. Along its track is a fantastic stretch of cherry blossoms. This 200 meter-long “tunnel” is made up of 70 cherry trees, and it can be seen between Narutaki Station and Utano Station. At night, you can enjoy the lighted view of cherry showers from your seat on the train! The cherry tunnel is illuminated for a week (April 3-9 in the case of 2008). Remarkably, the train slows down and passes through the tunnel of blossoms at a speed three times slower than usual, and the driver turns off the lights inside the train so that you can indulge yourself in the unearthly beauty of the cherries. It’s part of the magic of Kyoto.

Timetable to See the Cherry Tunnel

From Katabiranotsuji Station to Kitano-Hakubaicho Station

6 pm





7 pm





8 pm





From Kitano-Hakubaicho to Katabiranotsuji Station

6 pm





7 pm





8 pm





                                                                                                                (in the case of 2008)

Ashi-yu: for your tired feet

A special treat for Keifuku passengers: You do not have to give up on experiencing the pleasure of an onsen hot spring because of your hesitation to be publicly naked! Keifuku’s Arashiyama Station has an ashi-yu spot at the platform. Ashi-yu (literal translation: ashi = foot + yu = hot water) can make your circulation better by letting you soak your tired feet in authentic hot spring water. This onsen gives you relief for neuralgia, muscular pain, and tiredness. Ten minutes of soaking is enough to get the effects of ashi-yu. It is open from 9 am until 8 pm (6 pm in wintertime). You can get a ticket, and a towel to wipe off your feet, for 150 yen at Arashiyama Station. Enjoy the onsen, and chatting with other tourists!

Where to visit





Saga-Arashiyama JR Station

Arashiyama, Sagano


Rokuoin Temple (2-min. walk)


Kurumazaki-jinja Shrine, Geino-jinja Shrine (by the station)


Koryuji Temple (by the station)

The Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (Movie Studio) (5-min. walk)


Uzumasa-Tenjingawa subway station (by the station)


Saiin Hankyu Station (1-min. walk)



Nijo castle (15-min. walk)

Mibu Temple (5-min.walk)

Shinsen-en (15-min. walk)

Omiya Hankyu Station





Ninnaji Temple (3-min.walk)


Myoshinji Temple (3-min.walk)


Ryoanji Temple (7-min.walk)


Toji-in Temple (5-min. walk)


Hirano Shrine (7-min. walk)

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (5-min.walk)