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Choraku-ji and Anyo-ji: Hidden in the Hills, Lost in Time.

Visiting Choraku-ji and Anyo-ji on a relaxed walking route makes for the perfect afternoon of unhurried discovery. Better yet, put down the digital map and see where your wanderings will take you!

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Kyoto is abundant in micro-temples that atmospherically melt into forests and hills. Naturally, they’re a perfect antidote to the more popular and all too often overcrowded temples and shrines in the city.

Two such temples in Kyoto city lie hidden in Higashiyama’s forested foothills, behind the scenic Maruyama Park. Visiting Choraku-ji and Anyo-ji on a relaxed walking route makes for the perfect afternoon of unhurried discovery. Better yet, put down the digital map and see where your wanderings will take you!

Keywords: Choraku-ji, Anyo-ji, forest, trees
The entrance to Choraku-ji is very well hidden and doesn’t look immediately open to tourists. Rest assured, it is!


But first, Choraku-ji.

Although Choraku-ji temple is extremely well hidden, it’s a site of great importance in Kyoto‘s cultural history. It features in Japan’s great epic, The Tale of Genji, written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu. Choraku-ji is the temple to which the daughter of Taira no Kiyomori fled in order to adopt the life of a nun, thereby escaping the Minamoto (Genji) clan.

Naturally, such a temple wouldn’t typically be easy to find; most tourists bypass both Choraku-ji and neighbouring Anyo-ji completely. Founded in the year 805, this little site has a deceptively large footprint, ascending into the forests of Higashiyama and through several ancient cemeteries. Unusually, this temple has no official demarcations indicating its boundaries. As such, it’s easy enough to keep walking through the trees as they become ever denser – be sure not to wander too far!

Keywords: Choraku-ji, Anyo-ji, forest, trees
Choraku-ji’s inner temple can be accessed during regular opening hours (shoes off!).

(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on June 6, 2022. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)

Author: Team JJ

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