History of the temple
In the Heian period (794 to 1191), the 58th emperor of Japan, Emperor Koukou, started to build a temple then known as Nishiyama-Goganji. In the year of 888, Emperor Utada, taking over the wishes of his predecessors, completed the construction of the temple, which is now called the Temple of Ninnaji. After he resigned from his position, he became a priest and resided in this temple, undergoing training under the doctrine of "Shingon-Mikkyo" esoteric Buddhism. Afterwards, head priests of this temple had been the members of the Imperial Family and it had been popularly called the "Omuro-Gosho" Imperial Palace until the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Designated as the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994, it is the "Sohonzan" head temple of the "Omuro" faction of the "Shingonshu" sect of Buddhism.
This temple consists of a total of 23 buildings and gardens amid the verdure of the trees arranged in perfect harmony in the spacious enclosure, with many of them designated as the Important Cultural Asset. There is the magnificent "Nio-mon" gate at the entrance to this temple, a splendid, tall, five-storied pagoda, beautiful landscaped gardens, large tatami-matted rooms with wall paintings, a Buddha image, and so on. All these beautiful structures make us sigh with amazement.
How to enjoy
Just walk in the temple precincts following the guidance of the leaflet. You can enjoy seeing the marvelous buildings, structures and beautiful wall paintings. You can relax sitting on the veranda of a great hall, while looking in admiration at the garden consisting of white gravel and a pond. You can really feel the aura of a great temple constructed with the superb ancient technique.