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Gio-ji Temple, Kyoto

4.3
Stop at Gio-ji Temple to observe a rich, evocative fairytale landscape of moss and trees, hiding a modest but picturesque thatched temple. The temple takes its name from a dancer named Gio, who began a doomed relationship with the Heike Clan's leader, Taira-no-Kiyomori. When it ended, Gio retreated here to spend the rest of her life as a Buddhist priestess. Observe carved wooden statues of her, other spurned lovers, and the clan leader himself dotted around the small temple, and look out for the statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the Buddha of Light, found inside the temple. A worthy visit in autumn, the red tones of the leaves contrast beautifully against the lush green mossy ground at this time. Bring along your camera to capture the dream-like beauty of this spot in the woods. Use our Kyoto tour planner to visit Gio-ji Temple on your trip to Kyoto, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Gio-ji Temple Reviews
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326 reviews
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4.4
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  • The moss garden at Gio-ji is breathtaking and well worth the visit to Arashiyama, on the outskirts of Kyoto. You can also visit the Bamboo Grove while in Arashiyama - it is a few blocks away.  more »
  • we were advised to visit here and its certainly off the immediate track and less tourists. A nice walk on the way but the complex is small although surrounded by Bamboo forests and houses. Beautiful c...  more »
  • The temple is really characterized by the color green, MOSS that now has almost taken possession. Very small, costs very little and it's worth in my opinion, but it is somewhat dislocated from the main road.
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  • This is such a hidden gem in Arashiyama. Beautiful moss garden and small temple tucked amongst the bamboo groves. Not very touristy and there were less than a half a dozen people when we visited which added to the serene atmosphere. Lush green light all around and I believe in Autumn the entire place turns orange.
  • Wonderful place. Small, but extremely picturesque and charming. It's worth to come.
  • Tiny little peaceful musk garden reached after a nice walk through the streets. If it was free, I'd say it's worth the visit, but there's an admittance fee.
  • One of the many beautiful temples off the main tourist trails. Small but tranquil and serene.
  • The moss garden was beautiful and unlike any other temple I've went in Kyoto (and I went most of them). It's very small, and if you're early there (good to pair with bamboo grove early and walk the distance over here), you get the small temple to yourself (no pictures!), which is a good rest to be calm and peaceful. Purchasing it with the paired ticket with another temple is a good affordable choice, as this area of town is very scenic and serene on a quiet day for a walking tour (local map is provided at this temple).
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