10 Amazing Temples in Japan

Known as the “Land of the Rising Sun”, Japan is truly a fascinating destination that boasts a plethora of majestic historic temples. From Shinto Shrines to Buddhist temples, the country has thousands of temples to offer to its guests. 

Obviously, selecting the best temples to visit in this beautiful country is not easy. With so many temples available, finding the right temples to visit will definitely take a great deal of time and effort on your end. But luckily, we’ve compiled a list that will help you figure out the most amazing and celebrated temples in Japan.

No.1 Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Kyoto)

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Kyoto)

Situated on top of a small mountain on the east side of Kyoto, Kiyomizudera Temple offers a commanding view of the city. The temple's huge, lattice-supported deck is one of the most famous images of Japan. But Kiyomizudera offers more than just a pretty view, with the experience of visiting beginning long before you reach the temple itself. 

Take your time to walk around and enjoy all small details of the temples and gardens.

No.2 Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) (Kyoto)

Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) (Kyoto)

Kinkakuji Temple’s Golden Pavilion is Kyoto’s most famous sight. Covered in glittering gold leaf, the pavilion dazzles admirers as it shimmers in the sunlight over its mirroring pond. Both the temple and its delightful Zen stroll garden are a must visit location for any visitor to Kyoto. 

The afternoon light on the temple was amazing. Lovely walk around the temple grounds. It will make you feel very peaceful.

No.3 Todai-ji Temple (Nara)

Todai-ji Temple (Nara)

Home to the largest Buddha statue in the country, the Todaiji Temple is indeed one of Japan’s top tourist draws. The main hall of the temple, the amazing Daibutsuden or Big Buddha Hall, is the largest wooden building in the world. Not surprisingly, inside the hall is the largest bronze statue of the Buddha in the world. 

The temple is a wonder by itself. No photo could ever do justice to how amazing Todai-ji Temple is! If you only see one thing in Nara, this has to be it.

No.4 Kotoku-in Temple (Kamakura)

Kotoku-in Temple (Kamakura)

Kotokuin Temple serves as a home to the world famous Kamakura Daibutsu, a towering bronze statue of Buddha. With an impressive height of 40 feet, this bronze statue is the second tallest Buddha figure or statue in the country. As national treasures, the Buddha statue and the Kotokuin Temple have been projected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Must see in Kamakura! The level of awesomeness is at par with the daibatsu in Todaiji. The goodies outside the temple is pretty cool as well.

No.5 Senso-ji Temple (Tokyo)

Senso-ji Temple (Tokyo)

Sensoji Temple (or also referred as Asakusa Temple), is a historic Buddhist temple constructed in the earlier parts of the 7th century. A major tourist attraction in Tokyo, the Senosji Temple is one of oldest and most beloved temples in the city.  

It’s a beautiful temple with lots of fun shops nearby. If you visit the late afternoon to early evening, the view is stunning and very beautiful. One of the highly recommended place to visit in Tokyo.

No.6 Horyuji Temple (Nara)

Horyuji Temple (Nara)

What makes Horyuji Temple so amazing is its five-story pagoda, considered to be one of the oldest surviving wooden structures in the world. The wood used for the pillars of the pagoda has been estimated to date back to 594. 

If you are interested in history, want to see some of the oldest wooden structures in the world and want to get away from the hordes of tourists at Nara, this is the place to go!

No.7 Saihoji Temple (Kyoto)

Saihoji Temple (Kyoto)

Saihoji Temple (or Kokedera, better known as the Moss Temple), is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple famous for its moss garden. One of the best experiences of Kokedera is walking through the beautiful green gardens. These gardens have been influential with the design of other Japanese gardens.

It has a different feeling from other gardens and is calm and restful like the bamboo forests. It’s beautiful rain or sun. Definitely well worth the stop for a peaceful 2 hours of beauty.

No.8 Byodoin Temple (Uji)

Byodoin Temple (Uji)

Byodoin Temple embodies the heaven envisioned by an aristocrat of the Heian period. A valuable building that attests to the prosperity of the Fujiwara clan. The highlight of Byodoin Temple is the amazing Phoenix Hall. This impressive building, located on a scenic pond, is the only remaining original building.  

This place is beautiful and peaceful. The grounds are so stunning and the backdrop is breathtaking. Nice place for anyone to stop!

No.9 Nanzenji Temple (Kyoto)

Nanzenji Temple (Kyoto)

Not far from the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto is Nanzenji Temple, an extensive temple surrounded by smaller sub-temples. If you're looking for the quintessential Japan don't miss Nanzenji. This large temple complex is home to priceless treasures, echoes Japan's most violent history, and preserves a culinary style dating back eight hundred years. 

In the temple, you can witness Fall Foliage in Kyoto starting from end of November until mid of December. It’s unparalleled beauty with keep you in awe of colours of its autumn leaves.

No.10 Ryoan-ji Temple (Kyoto)

Ryoan-ji Temple (Kyoto)

Ryōan-ji is home to one of Japan’s most famous rock gardens, a cultural heritage site that attracts visitors from all around the world every day. Although the rock garden takes the spotlight, the temple offers other beautiful gems such as the Kyōyōchi Pond in its residential-style leisure garden, as well as the beautiful paintings and artifacts in the Abbot's Quarters.

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