Introduction
About Rurikoin Temple
Gorgeous Autumn Sights at Rurikoin Temple
Limited-Time Nighttime Light-ups at Rurikoin Temple
Experience Buddhism with the "Shakyo" Experience
A Sip of Tea with a View of Ruri-no-Niwa Garden
Access
Conclusion
Nearby

Kyoto is beautiful regardless of season, but it is especially breathtaking during the fall months. All over Kyoto, the leaves change colors during the autumn, and visitors flock to popular tourist destinations throughout the city. Rurikoin Temple is one spot that isn’t as known as compared to other major tourist attractions, but is gaining popularity in recent years due to social media. The fall foliage at Rurikoin Temple is absolutely phenomenal, and the line to get in can get as long as 4 hours. The wait is well worth the wait, and the views at Rurikoin are sure to give you an amazing autumn experience.

About Rurikoin Temple


Temple Entrance

Rurikoin Temple locates at the base of Mount Hiei, in an area called Yase. The area was where a big battle, the Jinshin War, took place in the 600s. The battle was one of the biggest in ancient Japan, and it had begun after the death of emperor Tenji.

Two parties, one supporting Prince Otomo and the other supporting Prince Oama, fought to be the next emperor. Prince Oama won, and it is said that his scars from the war were healed at the bath in Yase, and since then the area has been known as area of peace and calmness.
 


Ruri-no-Niwa Garden at Rurikoin Temple

The current temple buildings were built around the early Showa period (1926 - 1989). There are three gardens in the temple premise, and in particular, the Ruri-no-niwa (Ruri Garden) is famous for its stunning, moss-covered view.

Rurikoin Temple is only open to the public spring and autumn

Rurikoin Temple is protected heavily as a cultural property, and was closed to the general public, but has been open during the spring and autumn months from 2015. In the spring, the temple is open in May and June, and in autumn, and in the fall it is open between October and December for the fall foliage.

Gorgeous Autumn Sights at Rurikoin Temple


The fall leaves reflecting on the desks

Rurikoin gained its popularity through photos of it being shared on social media. Many of the photos were of this view on the second floor of the temple. On the second floor is the study, and the desks act as a mirror for the fall leaves outside. This ethereal sight is something unique to Rurikoin, and is even called the “Fall Foliage of Dreams”.

Many of the people visiting Rurikoin come to see this view, and the line to see this can get quite long. You can get the best shots by placing your camera on the desks.


Fall foliage reflecting on the floor

The lacquered floors also act as a mirror for the fall leaves. The mirrored maple leaves accentuate the autumn atmosphere at the temple.

Limited-Time Nighttime Light-ups at Rurikoin Temple


Rurikoin Temple lit up at night

At night, the autumn leaves of Rurikoin Temple are illuminated, and take on a whole new beauty. The temple is not normally open at night, but only between November and December, up to 150 people a day can join the “special nighttime entry” with prior reservation. Unlike the daytime, only a fixed number of people can join this night visit, allowing it to be a much slower experience of the beautiful autumn leaves of Rurikoin Temple.

The nearby walking trail “Yase Momiji no Komichi” is be lit-up at the same time, while the Hiei Cable Car will be in extended operation between the foot and peak of Mount Hiei. Not only will you see Rurikoin Temple in a completely different light, but also the city of Kyoto in its night lights!

Experience Buddhism with the "Shakyo" Experience


Shakyo experience

Next to the desks where the fall foliage was reflected on, there is a space for visitors to experience shakyo, or sutra copying. Copying the sutra is a common Buddhist practice, and at Rurikoin, all visitors are welcome to try it out.

You don’t need to prepare anything; Rurikoin has all of the supplies ready. Shakyo is a great way to calm your mind.

A Sip of Tea with a View of Ruri-no-Niwa Garden

At Rurikoen Temple, there are three gardens: Ruri-no-niwa, Garyo-no-niwa and Yamaroji-no-niwa.


Drink tea right in front of Ruri-no-niwa

Ruri-no-niwa is the most famous out of the three. The name of the temple derives from this garden. The whole garden floor is covered in rich green moss. On the first floor of the temple, there is an area where you can drink some matcha tea and enjoy a view of the garden.


Matcha tea

The seats here are limited to those who order tea. You can taste a traditional Japanese matcha tea and enjoy a view that is like no other. The matcha tea with a snack is ¥1000, and the tea on its own is ¥800.

Access to Rurikoin Temple

Nearest station: Eizan Railway Yase Hieizan-guchi Station

From Kyoto Station

【Kyoto Sta.】JR Nara Line / for Nara
→【Tofukuji Sta.】Keihan Main Line / for Demachiyanagi
→【Demachiyanagi Sta.】Eizan Railway Main Line / for Yase Hieizan-guchi
→【Yase Hieizan-guchi Sta.】→ about a 5-minute walk

From Osaka Station

【Osaka Sta.】JR Osaka Loop Line / for Kyobashi
→【Kyobashi Sta.】Keihan Main Line / for Demachiyanagi
→【Demachiyanagi Sta.】Eizan Railway Main Line / for Yase Hieizan-guchi
→【Yase Hieizan-guchi Sta.】→ about a 5-minute walk

From Kansai Airport

【Kansai Airport Sta.】— Nankai Airport Line / for Namba
→【Shin-Imamiya Sta.】JR Osaka Loop Line / for Tennoji
→【Kyobashi Sta.】Keihan Main Line / for Demachiyanagi
→【Demachiyanagi Sta.】Eizan Railway Main Line / for Yase Hieizan-guchi
→【Yase Hieizan-guchi Sta.】→ about a 5-minute walk

When is the Best Time to Avoid the Crowd?

Since Rurikoin Temple is only open during limited times of the year, it can get crowded pretty heavily. During peak hours in the autumn, wait times can be as long as 4 hours. To keep your waiting to a minimum, the best times to go would be early morning before the gates open, or week days.

All that being said, the autumn colors around Rurikoin Temple are worth the wait. Plan your trip as best as you can, and you're sure to see some truly one-of-a-kind views!

Category: Shrine / temple

Rurikoin Temple

55 Kamitakano Higashiyama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
075-781-4001

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