Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Kyoto - Gioji Temple

Our most recent trip to Kyoto was with one of our relatives visiting from overseas. This was her second trip to Japan and she had already visited most of the popular tourist spots in Kyoto on her first trip. Her earlier trip to Japan was in the early 1980's and some of the spots which are popular now, were not part of the tour bus itineraries back then. For instance, she had not visited Fushimi Inari shrine and the Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo groves, so we focused on visiting such places. 
On our visit to the Arashiyama area, we stopped by at the Gio-ji temple. Gio-ji temple and its neighboring Takiguchi dera temple are not on most tourist itineraries. Gio-ji temple has a nice moss garden. 

While Kyoto's Saihoji temple (a.k.a Kokedera) is well known for its moss garden, it is practically impossible to visit it unless you have made a reservation well in advance and the entrance fee is pretty high too. So Gioji is definitely easier to visit ! 
The temple's main hall is a tiny thatched hut overlooking the moss garden and bamboo groves. 

As per legend, Gio, a dancer fell in love with Taira no Kiyomori, a powerful chieftain from the Taira family. He spurned her and this led to Gio moving to the temple with her sister Ginyo and their mother and the trio spent the rest of their lives as Buddhist priestesses. Wooden statues representing the women and also Taira no Kiyomori are enshrined in the main hall. 

Address: Kyoto Prefecture 516-8435, Kyoto city, Ukyo-ku, Kozakacho, Saga toriimoto 32

Phone no: 075-861-3574

Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 hrs

Admission fees: Adults 300 yen; children 100 yen

Parking: Free parking for 6 cars available

Official website: www.giouji.or.jp/en 

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