You can always head to cafe for a breather during your trip, but when visiting Kyoto you can also have the uniquely Japanese experience of enjoying matcha (powdered green tea) in a temple. Here are 5 temples where you can enjoy drinking matcha while gazing at a beautiful Japanese garden!
1. Sanzen-in Temple / 三千院
Sanzen-in is a temple
with connections to the Imperial household. This temple is located in Ohara, a
picturesque area in the northeastern part of Kyoto. Matcha is served in the
Kyakuden, a building right beside the main temple gate. The meticulously foamed
and creamy matcha served here comes with a selection of traditional Japanese
sweets. Visitors can relax in special seating that offers a view of the
Shuheki-en Garden, a famous garden tinted by the vivid colors of the four
seasons. This temple offers many other highlights, like the Yusei-en Garden
with its beautiful carpet of green moss, an impressive group of buildings, and
a statue of Buddha which is listed as a national treasure. The temple can be
accessed from the Ohara bus stop, about 1 hour’s ride from JR Kyoto Station.
General: 700 JPY
Junior and high school students: 400 JPY
Primary school students: 150 JPY
Matcha: 500 JPY
2. Rengeji Temple / 蓮華寺
Rengeji is a temple
located along the road that leads to Ohara in the northeastern part of Kyoto.
Its richly verdant garden stretches throughout the grounds, lending this temple
a quiet and calm atmosphere. In autumn, the contrast between the red tinted
leaves and the green moss covering the ground is magnificent. The view of the
garden from the open tea room is as beautiful as a painted scroll. Taking in
this scenery while drinking matcha will wash away all your fatigue from travel.
The temple is located a minute’s walk from the Kanbashi bus stop.
Entrance fee: Adults 400 JPY, free for junior high school students and children
Matcha: 400 JPY *Not available at certain times
3. Shoren-in Temple / 青蓮院
The Shoren-in Temple,
located in the popular Higashiyama area, is an ancient temple with a history
that dates back more than 850 years. On its grounds lies an elegant
Japanese-style garden that is perfectly crafted in every detail. The view from
the Kacho-den building is particularly special, and can be appreciated in peace
while savoring matcha and Japanese sweets.
In spring and autumn during the “Special Visit” period, the Kobun-tei teahouse is also open to the public. Guests can have the valuable experience of enjoying tea in the traditional manner. The temple is located a 3-minute walk from the Jingu-michi bus stop.
Adults: 500 JPY
Junior high and high school students: 400 JPY
Primary school students 200 JPY
Matcha (Kacho-den): 500 JPY
Special Visit fee: 1,000 JPY (Matcha or sencha and sweets included)
* The regular entrance fee is not included in the Matcha or Special Visit fee and must be paid separately.
4. Keishun-in Temple / 桂春院
Keishun-in is one of the
sub-temples (small temples on the main temple grounds) of the Myoshinji Zen
Temple. There are four Japanese-style gardens located in the grounds that have
been designated as National Sites of Scenic Beauty. Each garden has been
elegantly decorated with unpretentious arrangements of small garden stones and
other items. A tea house built near the Wabi garden offers full-bodied, mellow
matcha tea with sweets that can all be enjoyed while taking in the beautiful
surroundings. This location is also very popular for those looking to
appreciate the fiery colors of the leaves in autumn. The temple can be accessed
within a 5-minute walk from the Myoshinji Station on the Randen tram line.
Entrance fee: Adults 400 JPY
Free for primary school students and under
Tea house visit: 400 JPY *Reservation required on weekdays
5. Nobotoke-an / 野仏庵
Nobotoke-an is located a
short 5-minute walk from the Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho bus stop. The grounds have
the quiet atmosphere of a secret hideaway, and houses a tea room beloved by
poets and high priests. Around 200 stone Buddhist images are scattered
throughout the premises. In the main building, guests can enjoy matcha and rice
crackers while gazing out at the traditional dry landscape garden (a form of
garden that represents a mountain and water landscape using stones and sand).
Shisen-do, an elegant mountain villa, is also located close to Nobotoke-an.
These two spots are perfect to visit together.
Fee: 500 JPY (including matcha and sweets)
Open only on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays
Kyoto offers a wealth of other famous spots for enjoying matcha and gardens. Please use this article as you plan your next visit to Kyoto!