Exclusive Early Morning Access to Kennin-ji Temple with Resident Monk Guide

While visiting temple is a quintessential experience in Kyoto, very few people get to know them under a resident Monk’s guidance.


Exclusive Early Morning Access to Kennin-ji Temple with Resident Monk Guide

While visiting temple is a quintessential experience in Kyoto, very few people get to know them under a resident Monk’s guidance. In this tour we will visit Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, 2 hours prior to normal opening time. Number of the participants is limited to eight people and our group will have the temple all to ourselves, including the areas that are normally restricted. The resident Monk will share interesting stories and tales of this historic temple, from an insider’s perspective. During this tour you’ll get to see the magnificent paintings of “The Wind and Thunder Gods” and the twin dragons. Exceptional Zen meditation is arranged in front of traditional sand (dry landscape) garden, where is usually full of tourists in normal opening time. Finally, experience the authentic Japanese tea ceremony of Eisai style, who was the founder of Japanese tea ceremony and of this temple.


  • Two and a half hours of exclusive tour in Kennin-ji Temple. (Starts 2 hours prior to usual opening hours)
  • Maximum of 8 people with no other visitors in site for more personalized experience
  • Guide by the resident monk with English speaking attendant.
  • Special access to the area that is normally restricted for public.
  • View the masterpieces collection including the famous "The Wind and Thunder Gods", "Twin Dragons" paint on the ceiling and more.
  • Live demonstration of creating ripple of traditional dry landscape garden.
  • Create peace of mind through Zen mediation in front of dry landscape garden
  • Japanese tea ceremony in style special to Kennin-ji. This is not normal method of Japanese tea ceremony, this is the original method of Eisai who established Japanese tea ceremony. This is same method which is only carried out once a year at the "Yotugashira" tea ceremony.

What you can expect

Make your own way to Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto (or a limousine service can be arranged with additional charge). Exclusive early entrance 2 hours prior to the usual opening hours. Meet your English guide and resident monk, followed by a short orientation. Let the resident monk guide you through the temple, see interesting spots while listening to rich history of the temple. Enjoy quietness and peacefulness as there will be no other visitors other than members of our group. See the best-known masterpiece of the painter Tawaraya Sotatsu, "The Wind and Thunder God", while learning interesting stories from our monk, as well as the famous “Cloud Dragon”, painted by Kaiho Yusho on the sliding doors in the Houjyou hall. Head inside Hatto (which means the lecture hall), you will see the magnificent “twin dragon” painting on the ceiling. You will be amazed by the scale and details of this drawing. Find out interesting facts from the monk while spending time to feel the powerom these masterpieces. Calm yourself through an introductory Zen meditation in front of Houjyou hall. Let your guide monk teach you the basics of Zen meditation, followed by a short trial in front of daiouen (Japanese dry landscape garden). The tour will then continue by watching our monk demonstrate how to create ripple on a Japanese dry landscape garden. Tour will be concluded with a special tea ceremony, which is different from other Japanese tea ceremony. The method used in this tea ceremony is the same method used in the “Yotsugashira” tea ceremony, which is only held once a year. Enjoy the ceremony while listening to the guide monk tells you the stories about the founder of Kennin-ji temple, “Eisai”, and the relation between him and tea culture. Find out the reason why this tea ceremony is so special that it is only held once a year. During the tour, guide will take pictures of you experiencing Zen meditation and special Japanese tea ceremony, and will send you the data via email.

*Please enquire for the availability of the tour as we need to confirm with the temple.

Price From JPY 27,000 per person

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