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Monday, February 23, 2009

Chionin Temple Kyoto

Chion-in, Kyoto知恩院

Kyoto's Chionin Temple is a large, spacious complex in the hills of Higashiyama, the mountains in the east of the city.

The temple was founded by Honen in 1294, and is most famous for having the largest temple bell in Japan.

On a recent and strangely warm Sunday, we wandered up from the museums, in Okazaki, and after hiking up the steps wandered the grounds.

Many visitors were in t-shirts - in February!

The chanting of priests in the main hall could be heard.

Next to me a woman lit sticks of incense and, after placing them in a small structure for that purpose directly in front of the main hall prayed.

If you enter the main hall, the floor boards will squeak under foot. This is not the result of aging or poor craftsmanship. As in other temples, this was done as a way of warning of burglars or politically motivated intruders, particularly as the Tokugawa family often stayed at the temple.

Much of the temple complex is free.

Admission Fee; 9am-4 or 4.30pm.

Access

A 15-20 minute walk from Shijo Keihan Station, or 10 minutes from Higashiyama Station on the Tozai Line. The temple is north of Yasaka Shrine and adjacent to Maruyama Park. By bus, take 2, 46, 201, or 20 and get off at Chionin-mae.

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