Zen, a school of Japanese Buddhism

  • Published on : 21/01/2020
  • by : J.L.T.B. / J.R.

Zen Buddhism or the praise of simplicity

Originally from India, Zen or the school of meditation ( dhyana in Sanskrit, chan in Chinese, Son in Korean) is one of the many branches of Japanese Buddhism. The most famous and practiced Zen is through two schools: Rinzai and Soto. Learn more about Zen, its origins and practices, and above all its essence.


Koya san

Zen garden of Kongobu-ji temple in Mount Koya

Aymeric Geoffre-Rouland

  • The Kennin-ji

It is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, located in the historic district of Higashiyama. It was founded in 1202 by the monk Yousai. The Kennin-ji is the main temple of the Rinzai School and it was within its walls that Zen was first taught. It has two splendid gardens, a long dry garden as well as a small interior garden, the Chouontei, covered with moss, the maples of which can be admired with happiness during the kôyô.

Address: 584 Komatsu-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Entrance: 500 yen ($4.50/ 3.75€)

Hours: Open from 10 am to 5 pm from March to October and from 10 am to 4:30 pm from November to February


Kennin-ji Temple

Wikimedia Commons

  • The Kodai-ji

The very pretty Kodai-ji is located not far from Kiyomizu-dera, in the east of the city. Founded in 1606 by a widow to honor her late husband, the temple shines above all for its gardens, which are part of the Cultural Heritage of Japan. These include a small stone garden, a pond, and its wooden bridge, but also a tea house and a bamboo grove. A small Zen temple, nevertheless unmissable!

Address: 526 Shimokawara-cho, Kodai-ji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Entrance: 600 yen ($5.25/4.50€)

Hours: Open from 9 am to 5.30 pm


The garden at Kodai-ji


Kodai ji

The dry garden of Kodai-ji


  • The Kencho-ji

Founded in 1249, this temple is the most important of the five great temples of Kamakura. Its Sanmon gate, as well as its bonsho bell dating from 1255, is unmissable.


Address: 8 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa

Entrance: 300 yen ($2.60/2.25€)

Hours: open every day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Le temple Kencho-ji, à Kita-Kamakura, le plus ancien temple zen du Japon.

Le temple Kencho-ji, à Kita-Kamakura, le plus ancien temple zen du Japon.



Main Gate of Engaku-ji

Wikimedia Commons

Visitez Kyoto avec un moine bouddhiste

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