Zen Meditation Class & Temple Tour in English

- Learn about the multifaceted religious and artistic atmosphere in Japan

Kuromoji Gate

After this gate, the stone steps lead you to the tea room in the back garden of Shunkōin Temple

Shunkōin Temple

Shunkōin Temple (Temple of the Ray of Spring Ray) is a sub-temple in the Myōshinji temple complex (near Ryoanji Temple, the Golden Pavilion, and Ninaji Temple) in Kyoto, Japan. The temple was established in 1590 by Yoshiharu Horio, who was a feudal lord, or daimyō, of Matsue in present-day Shimane Prefecture. Because the temple is located in the center of the biggest temple complex in Kyoto, you can enjoy peace and silence, even though you are still inside of Kyoto City.

This temple houses important historical objects that reflect the multifaceted religious and artistic atmosphere in Japan from the sixteenth century onward.

  • The Bell of Nambanji

    The Bell of Nanbanji is a Jesuit bell made in Portugal in 1577. This bell tells us about the history of Christianity in Japan during the 16th century and about the political and economic relationship between Japan and Europe, especially Portugal and Spain. The bell is designated as National Important Cultural Properties and tells us the early history of Christianity in Japan.

  • Kirishitan Lantern, or Hidden Christian Lantern

    The Edo period (between 1603 and 1867) was the dark age of Japanese Christians. Christianity was banned, and Christians were systematically eliminated by the Tokugawa shogunate, or Edo bakufu. However, some Christians kept their faith and hid their religious identity. Those hidden Christians made their crosses and graves cleverly to resemble the Buddhist statues, pagodas, and stone lanterns. Shunkōin's hidden Christian lantern is one of those religious objects.

  • The Garden of Bolders, or Sazareishi-no-niwa

    The Garden of Bolders, or Sazareishi-no-niwa, is the main garden of Shunkōin. The theme of the garden is the Great Shrine of Ise in Mie Prefecture. The Great Shrine of Ise is the head shrine of all Shinto shrines in Japan. This garden houses a shrine to Toyouke-no-ōmikami, a goddess of agriculture. It is common to see Buddhist and Shintō objects enshrined at the same place in Japan because until the the Meiji period (in the late 19th and early 20th century), it was a popular belief in Japan that Shintō deities are various forms of the Buddha that existed to save people.

  • Sliding Door Panels, or fusuma-e, by Eigaku Kanō

    Several sliding door panels at Shunkōin were painted by Eigaku Kanō. Some of the paintings have Confucian teachings as their theme. Confucianism was very important to samurai, or warriors, during the Edo period because Confucianism taught samurai about honor, loyalty, and honesty.

  • Azaleas of D.T. Suzuki and Hōseki Shinichi Hisamatsu

    Shunkōin was one of the most important places in Japanese Buddhist philosophy in the early 20th century. D. T. Suzuki and Hōseki S. Hisamatsu, who are two of the most famous Japanese Zen Buddhist philosophers, discussed the future of Japanese Buddhism at this temple. Especially, Hōseki S. Hisamatsu lived in the guest house of Shunkōin and wrote several his books. There are azaleas planted by D.T. Suzuki in the front garden of Shunkōn.

Shunkōin not only offers visitors an opportunity to learn about Rinzai Zen Buddhism, but also to see valuable objects representative of important epochs in Japanese history. All tours and Zen meditation classes are given in English by an American-educated vice-abbot.

Shunkōin Temple

The temple is also located near Ryōanji Temple, which is famous for its Zen rock garden, and Ninnaji Temple. Both temple are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites and 10 minutes away from Shunkoin Temple on foot.

D.T. Suzuki's Azaleas

D.T. Suzuki planted several azalea trees in the front garden of Shunkōin.

Visitors' Information

Visiting Shunkōin Temple

You can also visit Shunkōin Temple. You will have an extraordinary experiance here. To book your class and tour, please call or email us in English.

This Zen experience course is recommended by the JAPAN TIMES.

"It's Hands-On in Kyoto" by PERRIN LINDELAUF

To Make a Reservation

To reserve your room & Zen meditation class, please call or email us.

Rev.Takafumi Kawakami
Director of International Affairs
B.A. of Religious Study at Arizona State University
Delegate to the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program's Seattle 2008 Conference

Phone:  075-462-5488
International: +81.75.462.5488
Office hour: 8:00 - 20:00
Email:  Rev.Taka.Kawakami@gmail.com

Time and Fees

Time: Mon - Sun
  • Zen Meditation & Tour: 9:00-10:30, 10:40-12:10, & 13:30-15:00
  • Zen Meditation: 9:30-10:30, 11:10-12:10, & 14:00-15:00
  • Tour: 9:00-9:30, 10:40-11:10, & 13:30-14:00
  • Open: 9:00-16:00 (Mon-Fri) & 9:00-15:00 (Sat-Sun)

Go to Zen Meditation Page

  • Zen Meditation & Tour: 2000 yen (visitors)
  • Zen Meditation & Tour: 1000 yen (staying-guests)
  • Zen Meditation: 1500 yen
School Discounts

School Discount (more than 20 students):
  • Zen Meditation & Tour (2 hours): 1500 yen
  • Zen Meditation: 1200 yen

Go to Academic Program


Shunkōin in Four Seasons

Shunkōin's Sliding Door Panels
Shunkōin Temple in the Early Spring

Shunkōin Temple in the Cherry Blossom Seaon

Shunkōin Temple in the Autumn

Shunkōin Temple in the Winter


Go to History Page
Go to Treasure Page
Go to Garden Page
Go to The Bell of Nanbanji Page
Go to Christian Lantern Page
Go to Kyoto Page

Go Back to the Main Page

Annual Events

August 9th and 10th    
Oshorai-Mukae (Obon Festival)

Oshorai-Mukae Festival at Myōshinji Temple

Oshorai-mukae is the beginning of the Obon holyday in Buddist tradition. Oshorai-mukae literally means "welcome our ancestors' spirits at home". Hundreds of vendors are in Myōshinji Temple and attract thousands of poeple during the Obon holiday.

Go Back to the Main Page