Frozen moments from the infinity that is time

Kennin-ji Temple


Being located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district and close to Gion, the Kennin-ji Temple is easily accessible if visiting Kyoto. Unfortunately, much of the temple was closed for renovation and refurbishment during my visit, thus I am able to present merely a glimpse of the temple’s range and splendour.

The temple is historically significant as not only one of the Kyoto Gozan (five most important Zen temples of Kyoto), but as Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple founded in 1202. The founding monk (Eisai) is credited with introducing Zen to Japan and is buried within the temple grounds.

Pic 1, somewhat playfully titled “Contemplation”, hints at the temple’s meditative qualities. I say playfully titled because the shot took me at least thirty minutes to capture due to other visitors wandering into and lingering within the frame. Perhaps next year I will start a “ban selfies” movement :). Sadly the light deteriorated over this period, but one must acknowledge that all visitors have equal rights no matter how frustrating it can be when all one wants is a fraction of a second of clear space. Okay, I finally have that off my chest.

The most dominant feature of the main hall is also the newest, namely the Twin Dragons (pics 1 to 4) that look down from above. The work was installed in 2002 to commemorate Kennin-ji’s 800-year anniversary after taking the artist almost two years to complete. Created offsite, the work’s scale is imposing and is equivalent to the size of 108 tatami mats.

Other fine examples of Japanese art may be seen in the study rooms (pics 8 to 11) where various themes and traditional stories are represented in visual form.

Finally, I would have liked to show images from across Kennin-ji’s gardens, but I had access only to Chouontei – the garden of the sound of the tide. As one can observe from pic 12, Chouontei is indeed a relaxing place to spend some quiet reflective time outdoors.

(Please click on any of the following images for an enlarged view.)

Author: johnliddlephotography

Photography reflects how I see the world around me. I respond to images that interest me, which can be anything ... people, places, colour, texture ... anything at all. By sharing my photos through this blog I know that viewers will see based on their life experiences. That is the wonder of photography ... one image ... many interpretations.

4 thoughts on “Kennin-ji Temple

  1. Absolutely gorgeous captures (as always) and enjoyable post!

    Of course, my first response, as you would know, right from the opening line was akin to ‘Ah, Kyoto♥’ 🙂

    What’s there not to love.. with all the winsome play of light, attention to awe-inspiring craft work and beauty (those study rooms and the Chouontei Garden with such a beautiful name!) Love every one of these captures of heart.

    Thank you for sharing more of blessed Kyoto’s magic and take care, my friend.

    • Thanks B,
      Indeed, what’s not to love about Kyoto! If you didn’t visit Kennin-ji during your visit, I expect you would have passed by its walls during your walks. It was a pity about the renovations as it has much more to show. Another reason to return one day :). Take care.

      • True.. these growing reasons to visit the blessed place again, perhaps sometime in the near future. 🙂

        Thank you for sharing your light and have a safe and wonderful Christmas, my friend.
        Take good care, too.

      • Thank you B,
        You have a safe and wonderful Christmas too and yes, revisiting Kyoto is highly recommended. Take care.

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