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A remote temple set in the hills

Yoshiminedera is a temple in Nishiyama in the far southwest of Kyoto. It was a pilgrimage stop and has two unusual statues of Kannon, the goddess of compassion. The temple offers some wonderful views of Kyoto.

How to Get There

From Kyoto Station , take the JR Kyoto Line to Mukomachi Station.

Well off the beaten track

Yoshiminedera seldom sees international tourists because of how far it is from the city center, so if you're looking for a secluded retreat for the day, look no further.

Kannon in different incarnations

The temple was founded by a priest in 1029.

Two Kannon (Bodhisattva of compassion) statues remain as the temple's main objects of worship. Both Kannon statues feature 11 heads and a thousand arms, but one was carved by the founding priest, and the other was a gift from the emperor soon after the temple was founded.

Fantastic views

Yoshiminedera's grounds are quite extensive. The hondo (main hall) is just after the entrance gate at the base of the mountain. Beside it is the treasure house, in which some of the temple's artifacts are displayed.

From there, paths criss-cross up the mountainside, dotted with several smaller sub-temples, a style reminiscent of Kiyomizudera on the other side of Kyoto. As you walk up the mountain the views of Kyoto and its surroundings are quite stunning.

A dragon tree glides low to the ground

The grounds feature some treasured trees, one of which is the 600-year-old "Gliding Dragon" pine tree, which is 40 meters wide but only two meters tall.

The temple, isolated as it is in the mountains, is beautiful in any season, but particularly in the fall when the autumn colors light up the mountainside in fiery hues.

A stop on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage

Yoshiminedera is the 20th of 33 temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, an ancient route of about 1,000 kilometers that stops at temples throughout Kansai that are dedicated to Kannon.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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